World

Florida cops want hate crime charges in case of Guatemalan bludgeoned to death

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29:  Handcuffs are seen on the hands of a twenty-year old "Street Villains" gang member who was arrested by Los Angeles Police Department officers from the 77th Street division on April 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 77th Street division patrol the same neighborhood that truck driver Reginald Denny was nearly beaten to death by a group of black assailants at the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues. It?s been 20 years since the verdict was handed down in the Rodney King case that sparked infamous Los Angeles riots.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29: Handcuffs are seen on the hands of a twenty-year old "Street Villains" gang member who was arrested by Los Angeles Police Department officers from the 77th Street division on April 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The 77th Street division patrol the same neighborhood that truck driver Reginald Denny was nearly beaten to death by a group of black assailants at the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues. It?s been 20 years since the verdict was handed down in the Rodney King case that sparked infamous Los Angeles riots. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

Police in a south Florida town are pursuing hate crime charges for three men who allegedly bludgeoned to death an 18-year-old Latino man.

David Harris, 19, his brother Jesse Harris, 18, and a third man, Austin Taggart, 19, have already been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos 10 days ago. The men are all from Jupiter, a coastal town about an hour and a half north of Miami.

"The suspects went to that neighborhood targeting people from the Hispanic community," Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow said at a news conference, according to the Palm Beach Post.

An arrest report states that Jesse Harris told police he went to the victim’s neighborhood "to rob Guatemalans." If convicted, the three men could be sentenced to death.

The Sun-Sentinel reported the attack on Lopez-Ramos occurred in the early morning hours of April 18, when a group of six to 10 people approached Lopez-Ramos and several other acquaintances on a street in Jupiter. A fight that broke out led to Lopez-Ramos being hit on the head with a blunt object and dying on the scene.

The attackers fled the scene before police arrived.

Police reports indicate that a "bloody white rock" was found in the front yard of the single-story home where Lopez-Ramos lived and near where police found him unconscious. Lopez-Ramos was on his way home from work when he was killed.

"(Lopez-Ramos) was definitely killed by a blunt object. We are not saying what it was," Jupiter Police spokesman Adam Brown said.

Police were quiet on how they were able to track down the three suspects, but said that David and Jesse Harris were found in a vehicle on Friday and Taggart also was in Jupiter.

Police said that the cooperation of the Guatemalan community helped them make the arrests so quickly.

"It was a very deliberate and meticulous investigation. The neighbors in that area were a tremendous help," said Major Amy Walling, the leader of the police investigation.
 

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