Ex-NSA worker from Colorado charged with trying to sell US secrets

GREELEY, Colo. — A 22-year-old man was sentenced to prison on Sept. 23 after he, along with four others, broke into a Greeley home and shot a young veteran in 2018.

A Weld County judge sentenced Raymond Ramirez to 42 years in prison for the armed burglary. Ramirez pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, first-degree burglary and child abuse on Aug. 12, according to a spokesperson for the Weld County District Attorney’s Office.

The charges stem from Oct. 21, 2018. Around 4 a.m. that morning, residents along 88th Avenue in Greeley called 911 to report a man screaming for help outside. They said the man then left in a vehicle, according to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office.

Police gathered details about the car from the neighbors.

Some time later, Greeley officers pulled over a vehicle that matched the description. A woman was driving and a man — her son, and a military veteran — was in the passenger seat. The man’s 4-year-old child was also in the car.

The driver and passenger were both covered in blood, and explained to police that the man had been shot in the shoulder inside their Greeley home, the district attorney’s office said.

During the investigation, police learned that the woman had been asleep in her bedroom alone that evening. At some point in the night, she woke up to see two men in the room. One pointed a gun in her face, put her in a headlock, and dragged her down to the basement, where they beat her, the district attorney’s office said.

Meanwhile, the man woke up, along with his son.

The suspects beat the man before dragging him and his son into a bathroom, the district attorney’s office said. Ramirez then shot the man in the shoulder.

Police determined that that evening, five suspects had entered the home. Following the shooting, the group stole cell phones, a Springfield 1911 handgun, electronics and other items. The belongings totaled more than $2,000.

All five suspects were arrested by early November 2018, according to The Greeley Tribune.

The Weld County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Ramirez, Brandon Steele, Valentine Sitchler, and two juveniles were arrested.

Ramirez was formally charged on Oct. 25, 2018 with:

  • First-degree kidnapping (forcibly seizing and carrying any person from one place to another, injuring them)
  • First-degree murder after deliberation
  • Two counts: Second-degree kidnapping (for the purpose of bartering the victim for a weapon)
  • Tw counts: Aggravated robbery knowingly wounding or striking a person with a weapon
  • Two counts: First-degree burglary, assaulting or menacing
  • Second-degree burglary, theft of firearm
  • Two counts: Second-degree assault causing injury with a deadly weapon
  • Conspiracy to commit a second-degree burglary of a dwelling
  • Identity theft
  • Tw counts: Menacing with a real or simulated weapon
  • Theft of $2,000-$5,000
  • Possession of a weapon by a previous juvenile offender with prior felonies
  • Third-degree assault, knowingly and recklessly causing injury
  • Child abuse, knowingly and recklessly, no injury
  • Three violent crime enhancers

Multiple charges were dismissed and he ultimately pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, first-degree burglary and child abuse.

During the sentencing hearing Sept. 23, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wrenn said Ramirez did not “just shoot to shoot.”

“He shot to kill that night,” Wrenn said. “In that effort, he almost took the life of a great man who served his country and who was raising his young son.”

Steele pleaded guilty to second-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary in July 2020. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Sitchler pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in March 2019.

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