The Man Pleaded Guilty Last Year in the Murder of Several Victims Including Three in Santa Monica
By Zach Armstrong
Ramon Escobar, an El Salvadoran immigrant who pleaded guilty last year in the murder of several victims including three in Santa Monica, was charged with First-Degree Murder in a homicide committed against his cellmate, Kern County District Attorney’s office announced.
While Escobar was serving multiple life sentences in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in a Delano, CA prison, he allegedly strangled cellmate Juan Villanueva. Villanueva had been sentenced in L.A. County for life in the aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14, according to My News LA. He was discovered unresponsive in the cell he shared with Escobar, who is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 21.
The news comes over a year after Escobar was sentenced for life in the killing of five men and injuring an additional seven others. According to prosecutors, Escobar had fled Texas after the murder of his Uncle and Aunt. During a two-week period in September 2018 while homeless, he assaulted people around Los Angeles and Santa Monica using bolt cutters or a baseball bat as a bludgeon on primarily homeless people sleeping on the beach or city streets. Only one victim wasn’t unhoused.
Santa Monica victims included: Juan Antonio Ramirez (51), Steven Cruze (39) and Jorge Martinez (63).
Last year, he also pleaded guilty to murdering his aunt and uncle in Houston, Texas. According to authorities, Escobar said he beat his uncle to death then murdered his aunt when she went looking for her brother two days later. The bodies were dumped in dumpsters and eventually discovered in a landfill.
Police interviews with Escobar revealed he claimed to kill some victims because “they irritated him, they were disrespectful to law enforcement or he robbed them because he needed money,” as quoted by ABC News 4. He also previously served a five-year sentence for a Texas burglary in Texas and on assault and trespassing charges. Born in El Salvador, he was deported six times between 1997 and 2011. After winning an appeal on his most recent deportation case, he returned to the U.S. again illegally and was released from federal immigration custody in 2017, as previously reported based on reports from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.