A 22-year-old man admitted taking a bus from California, then hiding out in his former girlfriend’s truck in rural Prosser so he could attack her when she left for work.
Christian Ramirez had been scheduled to start his jury trial Monday in Benton County Superior Court.
Instead, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and ultimately spared the victim from having to tell jurors about the morning last September when she was stabbed repeatedly.
Ramirez’s plea was to attempted second-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon and a domestic violence allegation.
He originally was charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault, along with the aggravating circumstance of deliberate cruelty for the number and severity of stab wounds.
Alondra G. Herrera, who was 18 at the time, had to undergo surgery for the wounds to her neck, hands, face, back, chest and abdomen.
“Every time we spoke to the victim, she was very insistent on not wanting to testify. So we believe that we needed to hold (Ramirez) accountable, but also honor Ms. Herrera’s wishes,” Deputy Prosecutor Emily Sullivan told the Herald.
“I think she’s relieved after today, at least a little bit, and hopefully can start healing because the court process is over.”
Sullivan consulted with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, particularly Detective Larry Smith, and while they were concerned about whether the outcome would be appropriate for the crime, they also wanted to consider Herrera’s request.
Smith and his office stood behind the amended charge and the resolution, Sullivan said.
Ramirez had no criminal convictions before this case.
Now, he’s looking at spending seven years and eight months to 13 years and nine months in prison. On top of that, he also will have to serve a full two years for the deadly weapon enhancement.
Sullivan said her offer to Ramirez and defense attorney James Kirkham Jr. of Ellensburg was for a total of 15 years behind bars.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled later this month before Judge Vic VanderSchoor.
Ramirez remains in custody on $500,000 bail in the Benton County jail, where he has been held since his arrest.
Ramirez, who previously lived in the Lower Yakima Valley, traveled from California on Sept. 17 with the plan to harm Herrera. The following morning, he hid in her truck parked outside her West Heck Road apartment to surprise her, court documents said.
Authorities were called at 6:38 a.m. after a neighbor found Herrera covered in blood, yelling for help and saying she was going to die.
Ramirez had pulled Herrera from the truck before he drove off, later abandoning it near the Grant Avenue bridge in Prosser. He was arrested almost 15 hours after the stabbing at a relative’s home in Sunnyside.
Ramirez was hospitalized overnight after his arrest because of a serious complication with his diabetes.
During a court-ordered mental health evaluation in December, a state psychologist noted Ramirez’s claims that he gets very angry when asked to do something he doesn’t want to do.
Ramirez also told the psychologist that his “mood can go from calm to angry in seconds” and then it can take him a few hours to calm back down.
Ramirez had said the defense he planned to give the court and jury was that he can’t control himself when angry because of his diabetes.