A Texas prison parolee has pleaded not guilty to charges that he beat an Orem man to death in December.
Nicholas Garcia Ramirez, 40, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder for the slaying of Cornell McDonald, 37, on Dec. 3. He is scheduled to stand trial on the charge on June 11 before Judge John Rokich.A woman told police detectives she saw Ramirez beat McDonald with his fist, kick him and then hit him with boards and a rock in a field at 221 N. 500 West, Salt Lake City. McDonald's body was located near a makeshift shack that had apparently been built and used by transients.
The woman told police she and others had been drinking at the hut when McDonald and Ramirez got into an argument. McDonald's body was discovered the next morning.
Ramirez was also charged with stealing the victim's money out of his wallet, but a charge of aggravated robbery was dismissed after a 3rd Circuit judge said there was not enough evidence to substantiate the charge.
The defendant is also charged with attempted criminal homicide, a second-degree felony, and aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, in connection with a separate incident that occurred on Dec. 1, the day before the killing.
Leslie Norwood, 42, identified Ramirez as the man who stabbed him four times in the chest and abdomen in an alley at 119 W. Pierpont Avenue (240 South). While the stabbing took place, Ramirez demanded Norwood's money and then took it, court documents state.
A preliminary hearing on those charges was scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed until April 2.