An expert witness in the Clay County murder trial of Justin Wayne Green testified Friday that a 9 mm pistol was not the weapon used to kill Jose Ramirez.
Green, 31, formerly of Petrolia, is accused of murdering Ramirez in 2007 at a residence on FM 2332, south of Petrolia. Investigators discovered the man’s remains in a shallow grave on the 160-acre property Feb. 8, 2012. Green and Ramirez, both former members of the U.S. Army, served together in Iraq and at Fort Sill. Ramirez lived at the Green residence after he was discharged from the army in May 2007.
James Jeffress, a weapons expert at the DPS Crime Lab in Garland told jurors that ballistics testing on two guns described by Green’s defense team as used in a dispute between Green and Ramirez did not match a bullet found in the wall of Ramirez’s bedroom.
Green’s attorneys claim Ramirez attempted to shoot Green with a .44 magnum Desert Eagle when Green shot and killed Ramirez with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol in self defense.
Jeffress stated in his testimony that after finding the bullets did not match, he compared rifling marks on the projectile to those cataloged in an FBI database of rifling characteristics. He said the rifling characteristics instead matched a Hi-Point 995 carbine, a military-style rifle that shoots 9 mm rounds.
Stephanie Corral, accused of assisting in covering up Ramirez’s death, testified Thursday that Green told her he shot Ramirez with an “army gun.”
Ramirez was shot in the head and face, according to testimony given by Mark Ingram, a forensics anthropologist at the University of North Texas, who detailed the discovery of Ramirez’s remains for the jury.
Ingram explained entry and exit wounds visible in photos of the skull taken during his study of the remains. One bullet entered in the forehead, just above the left eye, and exited the rear of the skull just above the neck. Ingram said a second round took a similar downward trajectory, entering below Ramirez’s nose, and breaking the upper portion of his lower left jaw.
Ingram, who participated in the exhumation of the skeletal remains, said Ramirez was buried face down, in the prone position. Ingram testified that he and another forensic anthropologist first discovered a foot and partial ankle “a couple of inches” below the surface. The second foot has found between the shoulder blades.
“This grave was very shallow,” said Ingram. “The soil was relatively loose and the grave was very small.”
On Thursday, Texas Ranger Marshall Thomas testified that the grave measured 1.29 feet deep, 1.74 feet wide and 4.56 feet long. Ingram stated the remains were of a male between the ages of 20 and 35, and approximately 5 feet, 9 inches in height.
The remains were positively identified as those of Ramirez through his military dental records.
Testimony in the trial will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday.