COUDERSPORT — The preliminary hearing for the three Galeton residents accused of the murder of 19-year-old Joshua Ramos was held on Friday, Aug. 14. Two witnesses testified over the course of 6.5 hours in the Potter County Courthouse, with Galeton Magisterial District Judge Chris Kalacinski presiding over the case.
New charges were brought against the co-defendants during the hearing, and the date of the murder was established as March 29. Felicia A. Cary, 33, and Kyle N. Moore, 29, both of Galeton, were charged with (H1) murder of the first degree, (F1) murder of the third degree, (H1) criminal conspiracy engaging — conspiracy, (H2) murder of the second degree, (M2) tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and (F1) kidnapping to inflict injury or terror, for the murder of Ramos.
Krysten L. Crosby, 21, also of Galeton, was charged with the same, but with criminal conspiracy engaging — murder of the first degree, rather than murder of the first degree. Kalacinski said the commonwealth provided more than enough evidence and sent the case to the Court of Common Pleas.
Potter County District Attorney Andy Watson had two witnesses, Trooper Kyle A. Wagner and Darley William “Billy” Fuller (Cary’s uncle), who testified as to what happened on March 29, and why. Billy Fuller went to police with information months after the murder occurred. He spoke with Wagner, who made the arrests and formal interviews.
Wagner, of the Pennsylvania State Police Coudersport barracks, said he thought the motive was a two-part process.
Wagner testified that Crosby said Ramos asked her for sex while she was folding laundry days before the murder. She said no and Ramos pushed her into a door frame, causing her to hit her head. They later had sex; Wagner said he asked if he sexually assaulted her, to which she replied, “No, no, I could have said ‘no’ but it’s easier to keep the peace because there are kids in the home.”
This, Wagner said, was the motive for the assault that took place prior to the murder on March 29. Crosby accused Ramos of abusing her, and Cary and Moore began assaulting him. The three defendants beat Ramos for 15-20 minutes, Billy Fuller testified, and his son, Wyatt Fuller, 21, joined at one point. At Cary’s request, Billy Fuller said he videotaped part of the assault on his phone. He later testified that he factory reset his phone because “he didn’t want that s**t on it.”
Wagner said the motive for the homicide was the fear that Ramos would report the assault to law enforcement. Billy Fuller drove Cary, Crosby, Moore and Ramos to Ole Bull State Park, because the three defendants wanted to bring Ramos to the woods to release him, Billy Fuller said. He decided on Ole Bull because he knew the area well and thought Ramos would be able to find his way out to get help.
Once at Ole Bull, Billy Fuller remained in the car and the defendants attempted to get Ramos up a bank, and later down the other side. Moore became worried about being caught on trail cameras, he said. Wagner stated during his testimony that if they were truly just trying to release Ramos, they would have no reason to be concerned about trail cameras.
Billy Fuller then drove toward Harrison Valley, again at Cary’s request, he said, and was stopped by Westfield Borough Police Officer Milfred Catherman for a loud exhaust. Fuller said he was threatened by Moore, who said he had a knife, so he “stayed cool” and did not tell the officer he feared for his life, or that Ramos was in the back, now covered by a blanket.
Wagner testified that Crosby told him Moore had a knife and Cary had a gun in the car. He said Crosby said Cary told her if she said anything to the police officer, she and the officer would be killed. Wagner said a gun was never found and there’s no indication that Cary has one.
Billy Fuller drove toward Harrison Township, where the three defendants and Ramos got out and disappeared into a “thicket.” Billy Fuller said he didn’t leave to get help either time when the co-defendants left him alone in the van because of “fear they’d find me.”
Wagner testified that Crosby said they let Ramos go, but at some point became concerned he would report them to police. Crosby got jumper cables out of Billy Fuller’s van, at Cary’s request. She told Wagner they tied him up and Moore struck him with a large rock because he was trying to get away (he said the evidence does not support the latter). She also told him after she went to the vehicle, Moore stabbed Ramos six times. During Moore’s interview, he told Wagner that Crosby did the stabbing.
A set of skinning knives that appeared to have blood droplets on them were sent to a lab, but the DNA results and whether it was human or animal blood were not available at the time of the preliminary hearing.
The cause of death has not been established.
The physical evidence supports that Ramos was choked with the jumper cables, as a picture shows the cables wrapped around his neck at least three times, Wagner said. Based on a brief synopsis sent by a doctor who specializes in this, Wagner read that there was sharp force trauma in Ramos’ ribs, side and head, seven knife impacts, and blunt force trauma. In Watson’s closing, he said though it’s unclear who did the stabbing, the evidence that supports Ramos was choked is clear.
Other evidence gathered includes blood, DNA samples and electronic evidence, clothes and Moore’s boots, cell phones and the van that Billy Fuller drove.
Billy Fuller also testified he thought all three co-defendants had done crystal meth that day. Crosby told Wagner Moore and Cary were “doing rounds,” but that she was the only one sober.