Bay City News

Watsonville Man Who Stalked Ex-Wife, Killed Her Friend, Convicted of Murder

A Watsonville man was convicted Friday of shooting and injuring his ex-wife and killing her friend, prosecutors announced.

Jose Luis Ramos, who was 31 at the time, now faces life in prison after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Prosecutors said Ramos tracked his ex-wife Maria Elena Rocha and found her sitting in a car with her friend Santiago Avalos on the afternoon of Dec. 12, 2016.

Ramos opened fire, shooting Avalos twice and Rocha three times. Avalos was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, near North Rodeo Gulch Road and Soquel Drive in Santa Cruz County.

Authorities found Ramos soon after the shooting and arrested him.

Rocha survived and was able to testify at trial.

"My condolences are with the family of Santiago Avalos," Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosell said in a statement. "I want to praise the courage of Maria Elena Rocha for testifying at trial and facing the man who stalked and shot her."

A GoFundMe page set up at the time of the shooting said Avalos left behind a wife and two children.

Prosecutors didn't say when Ramos is expected to be sentenced.

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