23-year-old sentenced to prison for attempting to kill ex-girlfriend in SLO

John Charles Ramos, 21, of San Luis Obispo was arrested Tuesday, June 14, 2011, on suspicion of attempted murder. Original story »
John Charles Ramos, 21, of San Luis Obispo was arrested Tuesday, June 14, 2011, on suspicion of attempted murder. Original story »

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly noted the sentence given to Johnathon Charles Ramos. He was sentenced to 12 years to life in prison, and he will have to serve 10 years before he is eligible for parole.

A man who claimed he was guided and protected by the moon the night he tried to kill his ex-girlfriend was sentenced this week to 12 years to life in prison.

Johnathon Charles Ramos, 23, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but a jury found him both legally sane at the time of the crime and guilty of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and other related charges. On June 14, 2011, he entered the Establishment — a historic community living home in San Luis Obispo — and stabbed his ex-girlfriend several times.

According to court records, Ramos, a former student at Fordham University in New York and Cuesta College, had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed the antidepressant Effexor.

“I think the Effexor affected my behavior and escalated my condition,” he said, according to the probation department’s report, which was filed with the court. “This was completely out of my character. I have never been in a fistfight or ever hurt anyone before.”

Ramos said he was feeling suicidal on the night of the attack and planned to lie on the tracks at the San Luis Obispo railroad station. Then he looked to the moon, “and it told me it would watch over (me) and I’d be OK. I then went to the victim’s house to kill myself.”

He said he was experiencing a manic episode and couldn’t remember details of his actions at the Establishment. But instead of killing himself, he attempted to kill his ex-girlfriend.

The victim wrote to the court that she has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since the incident. 

“And even harder than all the mental and emotional reactions was my own need to understand why someone I cared about so deeply, who supposedly cared for me, would come into my bedroom while I slept and stab me over and over with more violence and aggression than I thought humanly possible,” she said.

Ramos’ attorney, Fred Foss, said he believes Ramos, who had no previous criminal record, had a psychotic reaction to the medicine, according to the probation report. Foss plans to file a motion for a new trial. The probation department wrote that Ramos’ version of the events was “questionable.”

Under the terms of his sentencing, Ramos would be eligible for parole in 10 years.