SENTENCES LEVIED IN MURDER OF BUCHANAN COUNTY MAN
On February 27, 2015, Christopher Lee Ramey was sentenced to serve 17 years in a Virginia prison following a lengthy sentencing hearing in the Buchanan County Circuit Court. Last October, the 32 year-old Pike County, Kentucky man pled guilty to the murder of Freddie Jacob Bailey of the Jacks Creek section of Buchanan County.
During the hearing, the prosecution produced evidence and testimony that shortly before the murder occurred, Chris Ramey had met with Bailey outside of a grocery store in Pike County Kentucky wanting to buy some Roxicet pills. According to information supplied to investigators by Chris Ramey’s brother, Terry Ramey, unbeknownst to Terry, Chris Ramey took a gun that belonged to Terry to the drug buy at the victim’s home. While Terry was sitting in the living room, Chris Ramey and Bailey went into the kitchen for to carry out the drug transaction. Suddenly, and without warning, Terry Ramey heard a gunshot and turned to see what had transpired. He told investigators that he saw his brother standing overtop of Bailey holding the gun. Investigators testified that their analysis of the crime scene victim indicated that the victim had been killed in an execution style murder while in the kitchen of his home, and that the victim had likely been low to the ground when he was shot given that there was little to no blood splatter above the kitchen cabinets. According to the medical examiner’s report, Bailey had been shot in the back of the head with an upward trajectory, which was consistent with Terry Ramey’s story to police, as well as the police investigation.
Bailey’s housemates told investigators they had gone to the grocery store and that on their way back home, they passed a white car with two white males in it that they did not recognize speeding away from the home. Another witness, who is the uncle of Chris and Terry Ramey, told investigators that shortly after the murder, both Chris and Terry Ramey came to his home in a white car. According to the uncle, when he told them about the commotion on the police scanner, he stated that Chris Ramey appeared to become very nervous.
At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the defense argued that “everything points to Terry Ramey [as being the murderer]” and argued that both brothers should receive the same sentence. The defense also attacked the decedent, suggesting that by dealing drugs, he had put himself in that position and further argued that “it speaks volumes that the victim has no family or friends here to testify.”
The Commonwealth refuted the arguments by suggesting that the evidence pointed to Chris Ramey, who had pled guilty to the second degree murder charge. Arrington reminded the court that the only relative the victim had was a sister and that she could not be present due to her current battle with lung cancer but had provided a letter from the sister to the Court which had expressed her feelings. The Commonwealth also argued that no matter what your chosen profession is, no one deserves to be murdered.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Arrington asked the Court to impose a sentence well above the highest end of the sentencing guidelines, and suggested that 25 years to serve would be an appropriate sentence. In response to the defense’s request for similar sentencing, Arrington argued that the two brothers committed different crimes which deserved different punishments.
During its imposition of sentence, Judge Patrick Johnson noted that while “the victim was not an angel, but instead was a drug dealer who was shot in an almost execution style murder” that Ramey had committed a particularly “heinous crime.” The Court then sentenced Chris Ramey to 40 years in prison, which is the statutory maximum. The Court then suspended 23 years of that sentence on the condition that he complete 10 years of active supervised probation following his release from prison. The Court’s sentence fell just one month shy of the active sentence recommended by Virginia’s sentencing guidelines.
Also on February 27, 2015, the Commonwealth also moved to nolle prosequi the murder charges that had been pending against Christopher Ramey’s brother, Terry Ramey. After Terry Ramey was indicted on the murder charge, his attorney arranged for a meeting with prosecutors and investigators to discuss the case. During this meeting, Terry was adamant that he did not kill the victim, and that he had no idea his brother was going to. Terry even offered to take a polygraph examination to prove that he was in fact telling the truth. While his cases were pending, Terry submitted to the polygraph and had passed it. In support of his motion to nolle prosequi the charge, Arrington told the Court that based on these findings, the cooperation of Terry Ramey against his brother, and the evidence that it had against Christopher Ramey implicating him in the murder, that it felt a dismissal was the appropriate decision to make. Based on this proffer, the Court found good cause and granted the Commonwealth’s motion.
Terry Ramey pled guilty to the remaining charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to serve 10 years in a Virginia prison with 8 years of that sentence suspended on the condition he successfully complete 5 years of active supervised probation.
Christopher Ramey also agreed to take a polygraph but according to the prosecution, those results further supported their concerns that Terry Ramey was innocent of the murder charge and that Christopher Ramey was in fact the shooter who murdered Freddie Bailey. Arrington stated that the Commonwealth felt that it maintained the remaining charges against Terry Ramey as a result of him hiding the gun from investigators and that “while I realize he didn’t want his brother to go to jail, and even though he provided very valuable evidence to the prosecution, there still has to be a penalty for his attempt to hide the evidence of his brother’s crime.”
When asked for comment, Arrington stated “when I took office, I promised the citizens of our county that I would take a tough stance against violent criminals, and I also promised that I would fight for justice. I feel that this case shows a clear commitment to keep both of those promises.” Arrington went on to praise investigators for the Virginia State Police and Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office for their hard work on this case.