Justin Wayne Green, formerly of Petrolia, has pled guilty to murder in the 2007 death of Jose Ramirez.
Green, 32, took the plea agreement Monday morning, just as jury selection was set to begin in a Fort Worth courtroom. Green was facing retrial after a Clay County jury failed to reach a verdict in August. Because a motion for mistrial was granted in August, double jeopardy was not attached to the case.
Green was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murdering the 23-year-old El Centro, Calif., man at a residence on FM 2332, south of Petrolia. Green will be eligible for parole in 15 years.
Justin Green’s mother and sister, Terri Green and Brittany Green, and a family friend, Stephanie Corral, have been indicted on charges of tampering with physical evidence. They are accused of helping Justin Green cover up the death of Ramirez.
According to testimony from the August trial, Justin Green and Ramirez were living at the home with Terri Green. On the morning
of Aug. 9, 2007, Green entered Ramirez’s room and shot the victim twice with a 9 mm military-style rifle.
Justin Green and Ramirez had recently been discharged from the U.S. Army, where they become friends while stationed at Fort Sill, Okla.
Justin Green did not deny shooting Ramirez, but said he had done so in self defense. Justin Green’s defense team argued in August that Ramirez had verbally attacked Green, threatening to kill Green and his family. Green testified that Ramirez pointed a cocked gun at him, at which point, he grabbed the rifle from the bed and fired. Green had first claimed to have shot Ramirez with a pistol owned by the victim.
The prosecution proved that the weapon used in Ramirez’s death belonged to Justin Green, arguing that Green had the weapon in his possession when he entered Ramirez’s room.
In the months after Ramirez’s death, Green spent more than $9,200 of Ramirez’s money using a debit card in the victim’s name. Green also gave away several weapons belonging to Ramirez.
A tip to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office led to the execution of a search warrant on February 7, 2012. Ramirez’s skeletal remains were discovered in a shallow grave on the property the following day.