Police at the shooting scene that felled Francine Ramos and Trevor Gray
West, of Elizabeth, N.J., pled guilty to three counts of first-degree murder before Judge James T. Anthony. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.
He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences and was fined $150,000, and he must pay the victims’ funeral costs. However, he avoids the death penalty with the plea.
Baffled by the senseless killings,Lehigh County First Assistant District Attorney Steve Luksa told the Morning Call: “This was a heinous crime and he’s an evil, evil man,”
“But the families did not want to go through the emotional turmoil of a trial.”
West shot and killed Francine Ramos, 32, and 22-year-old Trevor Gray while they were riding in a car in Allentown in July of 2015. He said he shot 22-year-old Kory Ketrow in Easton an hour earlier because Ketrow looked “tired.”
‘Random victim’ – Francine Ramos had no connection with her killer
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case like this,” Common Pleas Judge James Anthony said in court. “There doesn’t seem to be any motive here beyond the desire to kill. Just cold-blooded murder.”
West offered no explanation for the murders, which began in Easton and ended in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the predawn hours of July 5, 2015. Asked by the judge if he had anything to say to the victims’ families, West shrugged
West is just one of three men charged in the Pennsylvania killings, with Kareem Mitchell and Robert Jourdain slated for trial next year.
West’s alleged accomplices — Kareem Mitchell, 24, of Newark, N.J., and Robert A. Jourdain, 22, of Easton PA are scheduled to stand trial on homicide charges early next year. Mitchell allegedly drove West around in his mother’s SUV, hunting victims. Jourdain is accused of buying bullets for the murder weapon.
In a carbon copy of the infamous DC Sniper, Police say the trio began their crime spree around 3 a.m. on Lehigh Street in Easton. After buying bullets at a nearby Wal-Mart, West shot Ketrow, just steps away from the victim’s home. West was later to tell a detective he killed Ketrow because he looked “tired.”
Moments later, West shot at a car at Third and Spring Garden streets in Easton, narrowly missing a man and woman inside.
The trio then drove on Route 22 to Allentown, where West opened fire on a car killing two occupants. 32-year-old Francine Ramos, the driver, was found dead in the vehicle. The passenger Trevor Gray, tried to scramble over the hood to escape the bullets. He died in the street.
Continuing the crime wave the next day, West and Jourdain were arrested, after robbing several people at knifepoint. kareem Mitchell turned himself in a few days later.
In court Thursday, victims’ families expressed their frustration and anger with the mindless mission of the killers. Gray’s father said his murder has left the family emotionally drained. Joseph Gray described his son as a “firecracker” who had an amazing voice.
“His voice, when he sang, it was almost like a bird,” he said. “Trevor was determined to be successful in life.”
Ramos’ aunt, Sandra Dolson, lashed out at West in court, demanding an explanation for the killings.
“Look at what you did to all these families here. Look at you, grinning. You’re a coward,” she said. “Your day will come soon.”
“Look at what you did to all these families here,” said Ramos’ aunt, Sandra Dolson. “Look at you, grinning. You’re a coward. Your day will come soon.”
“He’s a coward. He shot people in the back,” Ketrow’s stepfather Richard Bader said. “He killed helpless people for no reason.”
Bader told the killer that there was a reason why Ketrow seemed tired, he had taken up two jobs to help out his mother that summer.
“He was a good kid,” Bader said, according to the newspaper. “He had a purpose. He didn’t bother with people like you.”
West is accused of four more murders back in New Jersey. He faces trial for the homicides that prosecutors say he committed in the weeks before he spread his reign of terror to Pennsylvania. He allegedly killed of Jamil Payne, 29, on June 25 in Elizabeth, N.J.
At a press conference last year July, Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park announced West was also charged in the same day fatal shootings of Kelvin Nelson, 32, and Dennis Vega, 28, and the attempted murder of Richard Marte, 24, all of Elizabeth. The shootings took place between 2 a.m. and 11 p.m., Park said.
West nad already been charged in the May 18, 2015 fatal shooting of his cousin Michael Thompkins, 29, also of Elizabeth, N.J.
Before his two-state killing spree in 2015, West had just released from the Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility in Annandale the previous October, after serving 16 months of a three-year sentence for drug charges.