MADISON — A Norfolk man was sentenced to jail on Monday after he was convicted of terroristic threats earlier this fall.
Rafael Ramirez, 19, appeared before Judge Mark Johnson on Monday alongside Chelsey Hartner, deputy Madison County public defender.
Johnson sentenced Ramirez to 120 days in the Madison County Jail after Ramirez pleaded guilty to terroristic threats, a Class 3A felony, on Sept. 24.
The Madison County Attorney’s Office filed the charge against Ramirez in July following an incident in which Ramirez told his mother he would kill her after she tried punishing him for smoking marijuana.
The Norfolk Police Division was called to the incident that occurred at an apartment in northern Norfolk on July 12. When police arrived, the victim was reportedly crying and rubbing her wrists.
A witness told police that Ramirez had been upset at his mother because she took his phone away and was not willing to give it back to him.
The victim said that while she and Ramirez were outside the apartment complex, Ramirez grabbed her wrists and told her he was going to kill her. Ramirez was shaking her as he threatened her, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The woman reportedly expressed fear of what Ramirez would do to her. Before police arrested Ramirez on the night of the incident, he reportedly told officers that he had reached a breaking point. Ramirez said he would tell his mother things out of anger but would never act on them.
In court Monday, Matthew Kiernan, deputy Madison County attorney, said Ramirez needs intervention “that can help him address his rage.”
“It’s bad enough when someone assaults or threatens to kill someone else, but when a child threatens to kill their own mother, it takes things to another level,” Kiernan said. “She was taking away his cellphone because he was smoking weed, and he snapped.”
Kiernan said Ramirez also is facing two protection order violation allegations, which shows that a pattern of misbehavior had been established.
“Those, combined with the threats he made, cause the state concern,” he said.
Kiernan told Johnson that incarceration for Ramirez would be suitable.
Before Ramirez’s sentencing, Hartner motioned for the hearing to be continued, as the presentence investigation (PSI) report had not yet been filled out because Ramirez had not attended scheduled meetings with a probation officer. Johnson denied that motion, citing no valid excuse on Ramirez’s end for missing the meetings.
Hartner admitted that Ramirez did not have a well-founded reason for missing meetings with probation.
In arguing for the judge to place Ramirez on probation, Hartner said Ramirez had shown regret for threatening his mother’s life.
“I think some things were said in anger. He loves his mother, and I don't think he would do anything that significant to harm her,” Hartner said.
Ramirez initially declined to speak before being sentenced, but he did respond to the judge after being asked what he took away from the incident.
“Regret,” he answered. “I was 2 feet away from her. I remember what happened that day. I only threatened my mom, but I would never do anything to hurt her. I would never grab her wrist, and I would never hit her or do anything to hurt her.”
Johnson also sentenced Ramirez to a 12-month term of postrelease supervision. Ramirez was given credit for 52 days already served in jail.
“I don’t believe you understand how you portray yourself to others, and I think it’s appropriate that you get a little understanding how you make people feel and how they respond to your behavior.”