The Commission on Capital Cases was not funded in the FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act, and the Commission ceased operations on June 30, 2011. This site and the Commission website are being retained to provide access to historical materials.

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These actions are effective July 1, 2011.

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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
RamosJuan 088561 Case Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
4/24/1987  Released

Current Attorney


Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
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The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

RAMOS, Juan (H/M)

DC# 088561

DOB: 07/12/57


­­­­Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Brevard County, Case # 82-1321

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable J. William Woodson

Trial Attorneys: Norman Wolfinger & Arthur Kutsche,Assistant Public Defenders

Direct Appeal Attorney: Michael S. Becker, Assistant PublicDefender


Date of Offense:         04/23/82

Date of Sentence:       03/10/83


Circumstances of Offense:


Mary Sue Cobb was found dead in her bedroom at 1:30 p.m. on04/23/82.  She had multiple knife wounds and had a butcher knife protrudingfrom her chest.  Forensic evidence indicated that the victim had been strangledand sexually assaulted. 


At the time of the murder, Juan Ramos was employed at amanufacturing firm near the victim’s residence.  Ramos stated that on the day ofthe murder, he arrived at work before

7:00 a.m., found out that he had been laid off, and returnedto his apartment at 7:10 a.m.  He testified that as he returned home from work,he noticed a black man walking in the street near the victim’s home. 


Ramos was interrogated for approximately seven hours in aninterrogation room of the Cocoa Police Department.  On the next day, the sameroom was used for two dog scent discrimination lineups, where the only peoplepresent were the police chief, a police detective, a sergeant from thesheriff’s office, and the dog handler.  The first lineup consisted of five blueshirts, four which belonged to the husband of the police chief’s secretary andone which was worn by the victim when she was killed.  The dog was given acigarette pack that belonged to Ramos and was allowed to sniff each shirt inturn.  The dog indicated that shirt #5, the one belonging to the victim, wasthe shirt in question.  On a second pass, the dog again indicated that shirt #5was the shirt in question.  The second lineup consisted of five knives, threewhich belonged to a local diner, one which belonged to a police officer, andone that was imbedded in the victim’s body.  The dog again sniffed thecigarette pack, and selected knife #3, the knife found in the victim as theknife in question.  On a second pass, the dog again indicated that knife #3 wasthe knife in question. 


The only evidence linking Ramos to the murder was the knifefound in the victim and the dog scent identification. 



Trial Summary:


06/11/82          Indictedon one count of First-Degree Murder

01/25/83          Juryreturned a guilty verdict on the sole count of the indictment

01/26/83          Juryrecommended a life sentence

03/10/83          Judgeoverrode the jury recommendation and sentenced Ramos to death


Retrial Summary:


04/24/87          Acquittedat retrial     


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 63,444

496 So.2d 121


03/28/83          Appealfiled

08/28/86          FSCvacated conviction and sentence and remanded for retrial


Case Information:


Ramos filed a DirectAppeal with the Florida Supreme Court on 03/28/83.  The FSC found that the dogscent lineup was not conducted in a fair manner, and that the reliability andaccuracy of dog scent identification was questionable.  On 08/28/86, the FSC vacatedthe conviction and sentence and remanded the case for retrial.


Law Enforcement/Prosecution Statements:


Christopher White, whorepresented the State at the original trial, had the following statement: “Just because someone is found not guilty does not mean that they areinnocent.  I can’t say that he was innocent.”


Defense Statements:


On 05/15/02, thefollowing statement was taken from Norman Wolfinger, who represented Ramos athis original trial:  “This was just a case that was botched by the police.  Thecase was handled properly by the courts, but once the evidence against Ramoswas suppressed, the case against him was over.”


Current Status:


Ramos was acquitted athis retrial. 


There is no informationavailable as to Ramos’ criminal history subsequent to his acquittal.



Report Date:   05/08/02          JFL

Approved:       05/08/02          WS

Updated:         07/09/02          JFL