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Did Jennifer Ramos lie in wait for Chad Danielson?

The arguments on the stabbing on Oceanside's Garfield Street

Officer Kari Winship points to where she found the victim's body.
Officer Kari Winship points to where she found the victim's body.

Oceanside police officer Kari Winship was first to arrive, after the 911 call reporting a fight in the front yard of the home on Garfield Street in Oceanside. Witnesses reported seeing an Hispanic male with long black hair run away, in the pouring rain, just before 8 a.m. on April 10, 2020.

Chad Danielson, a well-liked PE instructor at Jefferson Middle School, was found unconscious on the ground near his own front door. His wife and two children had decorated the house for his 45th birthday and were inside waiting to celebrate. Danielson had taken the dog for a walk, which was his normal morning routine.

The mortally wounded man was transported to Palomar Hospital where he died at 9:24 a.m. An autopsy revealed multiple stab wounds, including four to his front and three to his back. Some of the wounds were five inches deep; his lung and his heart were penetrated.

A team of police officers immediately began canvassing the neighborhood, speaking with potential witnesses and collecting surveillance video from cameras in the area.

The young man on Missouri Ave. heard the front gate open.

Meanwhile, a man who was home working that day heard his squeaky iron gate opening, in front of his house on Missouri Avenue. He looked out and saw the gate was still open, so he went outside in the rain and closed it. He returned to his (computer) work; then he heard police sirens and saw cop cars. The young man went and slid open the glass door to his side patio. He saw a heavy-set Hispanic man crouched in the corner of his patio; the stranger was backed up to the white gate there. They made eye contact, and the young man retreated back into his house. He told his mother what he had seen, and she grabbed her phone and went outside in the rain to flag down a passing police officer.

Field evidence technician Elizabeth Gluck was the first forensic expert to arrive. She had to work fast because the rain was washing away evidence. First she photographed the scene at 523 Garfield Street, and she helped put up a canopy to preserve things. Next she went to a home on Missouri Avenue, where she photographed bloody hand prints on a white gate, and she collected blood swabs. She also collected a red plastic sign that said ATTACK CAT because she could see “good ridge detail” on it. She took the entire sign and sent it to the San Diego County Sheriff’s crime lab, for fingerprint and DNA analysis.

The field evidence technician collected the ATTACK CAT sign because it had a good fingerprint on it.

Detective Erik Ellgard, who has been with Oceanside police 21 years, testified at a pre-trial hearing more than a year later. He remembered that morning, “It was raining massively, streets were flooded.” There were few pedestrians outside, and so few eye witnesses. However, neighbors did report hearing yelling and screams and saw a long-haired man running away.

The detective reviewed video from cameras in the neighborhood, and he made a map of the movements of one suspect. A video clip of the suspect, wearing dark clothing and walking on the sidewalk of Garfield Street, was displayed as evidence in court later.

Six days after the murder, the Sheriff’s crime lab phoned detective Ellgard and reported a fingerprint match, from the ATTACK CAT sign. The match was named Jennifer Ramos. “I thought that was an error, because it was a female name, and all the witness descriptions said a male,” detective Ellgard testified later. But then he remembered that he had contacted Jennifer Ramos in the past, when he was assigned to the gang detail, and he remembered that she “could easily be perceived as a male.”

Jennifer Ramos, 24, has been held in custody without bail since her arrest in April 2020.

The same day they were informed of the fingerprint match, on April 16, 2020, Oceanside cops served a search warrant at the home of 22-year-old Jennifer Ramos. She lived in a duplex on the corner of Division and Garfield streets, just a block from the crime scene. Ramos lived there with her sister and mother and a big dog.

A large, red, ceramic knife was collected from the dresser in Jennifer Ramos’ bedroom. And a dark jacket with blood spots was found in her laundry basket.

Oceanside police collected a red knife found on top of a dresser in Jennifer Ramos' bedroom.

Jennifer Ramos was taken to an interview room at Oceanside Police headquarters. At first she denied knowing anything, “I haven’t even gone outside for a couple weeks.” (Because of the Covid lockdown.) She guessed police picked her up “for a probation check.” She said she got her black eye from a fight that same rainy morning, six days ago, she said that “somebody jumped me” in a parking lot.

Detective Ellgard showed her the driver’s license photo of the man who was killed. She said, “So he is an outsider to me, I don’t really know him.”

Jennifer Ramos said she has lived in that neighborhood “my whole life.”

When they showed her a photo of herself walking down the street that day, she spontaneously exclaimed, “Oh, I did not know there was a camera there!” But then she recovered, and said that was not her. Police showed her more photos, from other cameras. “Damn! There is cameras around! I never even know that!” At first she denied it was her, but soon she changed her story.

She was shown photos of the victim’s wounds, taken at his autopsy. She exclaimed, “God damn! For real?”

Then she leaned forward on the leather couch in the interview room, her elbows were on her knees and her head hung down. Then she said, “Yeah, I did it.”

Jennifer Ramos confessed that the Devil or Satan told her to kill the next person she saw, and she did not know that man. “Yeah, he was walking his dog. And they told me, the first person you see, kill.”

Jennifer Ramos had taken a kitchen knife from her home before she left.

She asked the two detectives in the room if they knew Satan, and she told them that they did know him. “And he told me you guys were going to come,” Jennifer Ramos told police.

Jennifer Ramos chose to find someone on the other street, not on Center Street, because she grew up there and she knew everyone on Center Street.

Her confession lasted about an hour. Near the end of the interview, detective Ellgard offered to act as the victim, so Jennifer Ramos could demonstrate how she attacked the man she called “the innocent.”

She said she hurried up from behind when the man was approaching his house, and she reached around him to deliver the first, lethal stab to his chest. “Something like a bear hug,” she told the cops. She guessed she stabbed him maybe eight times, in his chest and back and side.

Jennifer Ramos said the man fought her, and he tried to control her hand which held the knife. At one point he struck her, and that was how she got her black eye. Jennifer Ramos said, “Cause I deserved it. He punched me in the face. I can’t blame him.”

She confirmed her blood might be on the scene, “Because I got a little cut right here,” she pointed to her right arm.

After the attack, she ran into someone’s patio “because I was wheezing.” She was lightheaded and she couldn’t run anymore, in fact she thought she had Covid. The knife was in her jacket while she crouched, hidden on that guy’s patio. She heard all the police arriving, she was surprised they came so fast. “Then I just went home. I took a shower.”

Jennifer Ramos’ interview with police was audio and video recorded, and played as evidence during a court hearing on October 20, 2021. Ramos, now 24, was handcuffed to chains around her waist while she listened to a full day of evidence against her.

From GoFundMe page for Chad Danielson family

Twelve family members and supporters of the deceased man were in court for the hearing, and there was frequent weeping. The defendant looked impassive, though her face was covered by a Covid mask.

Prosecutor Matt Hardy charged first degree murder, use of deadly weapon, and the special circumstance of lying in wait. (No gang allegations.) Hardy declared that Jennifer Ramos concealed her purpose and the victim was taken by surprise. The target was walking in the pouring rain with a dog and an umbrella and a used doggie bag, and he was distracted, the prosecutor said.

Deputy D.A. Matt Hardy: Ramos followed her victim and took him by surprise; according to the prosecutor, this satisfies lying in wait.

Jennifer Ramos exited her apartment with murderous intent, she crossed the street when she saw her target, she followed him and took him by surprise; according to the prosecutor, this satisfies the lying in wait element.

The public defender argued against the charge of lying in wait, which can mean the death penalty or life in prison with no parole. He pointed out that Jennifer Ramos did not conceal herself, and she did not conceal her purpose. He said she did not watch and wait, she did not know he lived at that house, and as soon as she saw him she started to approach him.

At the end of the hearing, Honorable judge David Brown ordered Jennifer Ramos to answer all charges, including the special circumstances. Ramos pleads not guilty, and continues in a no-bail-hold status in the Las Colinas women’s jail.

Jennifer Ramos is next due in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse in June 2022, to confirm a trial date in August.

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Officer Kari Winship points to where she found the victim's body.
Officer Kari Winship points to where she found the victim's body.

Oceanside police officer Kari Winship was first to arrive, after the 911 call reporting a fight in the front yard of the home on Garfield Street in Oceanside. Witnesses reported seeing an Hispanic male with long black hair run away, in the pouring rain, just before 8 a.m. on April 10, 2020.

Chad Danielson, a well-liked PE instructor at Jefferson Middle School, was found unconscious on the ground near his own front door. His wife and two children had decorated the house for his 45th birthday and were inside waiting to celebrate. Danielson had taken the dog for a walk, which was his normal morning routine.

The mortally wounded man was transported to Palomar Hospital where he died at 9:24 a.m. An autopsy revealed multiple stab wounds, including four to his front and three to his back. Some of the wounds were five inches deep; his lung and his heart were penetrated.

A team of police officers immediately began canvassing the neighborhood, speaking with potential witnesses and collecting surveillance video from cameras in the area.

The young man on Missouri Ave. heard the front gate open.

Meanwhile, a man who was home working that day heard his squeaky iron gate opening, in front of his house on Missouri Avenue. He looked out and saw the gate was still open, so he went outside in the rain and closed it. He returned to his (computer) work; then he heard police sirens and saw cop cars. The young man went and slid open the glass door to his side patio. He saw a heavy-set Hispanic man crouched in the corner of his patio; the stranger was backed up to the white gate there. They made eye contact, and the young man retreated back into his house. He told his mother what he had seen, and she grabbed her phone and went outside in the rain to flag down a passing police officer.

Field evidence technician Elizabeth Gluck was the first forensic expert to arrive. She had to work fast because the rain was washing away evidence. First she photographed the scene at 523 Garfield Street, and she helped put up a canopy to preserve things. Next she went to a home on Missouri Avenue, where she photographed bloody hand prints on a white gate, and she collected blood swabs. She also collected a red plastic sign that said ATTACK CAT because she could see “good ridge detail” on it. She took the entire sign and sent it to the San Diego County Sheriff’s crime lab, for fingerprint and DNA analysis.

The field evidence technician collected the ATTACK CAT sign because it had a good fingerprint on it.

Detective Erik Ellgard, who has been with Oceanside police 21 years, testified at a pre-trial hearing more than a year later. He remembered that morning, “It was raining massively, streets were flooded.” There were few pedestrians outside, and so few eye witnesses. However, neighbors did report hearing yelling and screams and saw a long-haired man running away.

The detective reviewed video from cameras in the neighborhood, and he made a map of the movements of one suspect. A video clip of the suspect, wearing dark clothing and walking on the sidewalk of Garfield Street, was displayed as evidence in court later.

Six days after the murder, the Sheriff’s crime lab phoned detective Ellgard and reported a fingerprint match, from the ATTACK CAT sign. The match was named Jennifer Ramos. “I thought that was an error, because it was a female name, and all the witness descriptions said a male,” detective Ellgard testified later. But then he remembered that he had contacted Jennifer Ramos in the past, when he was assigned to the gang detail, and he remembered that she “could easily be perceived as a male.”

Jennifer Ramos, 24, has been held in custody without bail since her arrest in April 2020.

The same day they were informed of the fingerprint match, on April 16, 2020, Oceanside cops served a search warrant at the home of 22-year-old Jennifer Ramos. She lived in a duplex on the corner of Division and Garfield streets, just a block from the crime scene. Ramos lived there with her sister and mother and a big dog.

A large, red, ceramic knife was collected from the dresser in Jennifer Ramos’ bedroom. And a dark jacket with blood spots was found in her laundry basket.

Oceanside police collected a red knife found on top of a dresser in Jennifer Ramos' bedroom.

Jennifer Ramos was taken to an interview room at Oceanside Police headquarters. At first she denied knowing anything, “I haven’t even gone outside for a couple weeks.” (Because of the Covid lockdown.) She guessed police picked her up “for a probation check.” She said she got her black eye from a fight that same rainy morning, six days ago, she said that “somebody jumped me” in a parking lot.

Detective Ellgard showed her the driver’s license photo of the man who was killed. She said, “So he is an outsider to me, I don’t really know him.”

Jennifer Ramos said she has lived in that neighborhood “my whole life.”

When they showed her a photo of herself walking down the street that day, she spontaneously exclaimed, “Oh, I did not know there was a camera there!” But then she recovered, and said that was not her. Police showed her more photos, from other cameras. “Damn! There is cameras around! I never even know that!” At first she denied it was her, but soon she changed her story.

She was shown photos of the victim’s wounds, taken at his autopsy. She exclaimed, “God damn! For real?”

Then she leaned forward on the leather couch in the interview room, her elbows were on her knees and her head hung down. Then she said, “Yeah, I did it.”

Jennifer Ramos confessed that the Devil or Satan told her to kill the next person she saw, and she did not know that man. “Yeah, he was walking his dog. And they told me, the first person you see, kill.”

Jennifer Ramos had taken a kitchen knife from her home before she left.

She asked the two detectives in the room if they knew Satan, and she told them that they did know him. “And he told me you guys were going to come,” Jennifer Ramos told police.

Jennifer Ramos chose to find someone on the other street, not on Center Street, because she grew up there and she knew everyone on Center Street.

Her confession lasted about an hour. Near the end of the interview, detective Ellgard offered to act as the victim, so Jennifer Ramos could demonstrate how she attacked the man she called “the innocent.”

She said she hurried up from behind when the man was approaching his house, and she reached around him to deliver the first, lethal stab to his chest. “Something like a bear hug,” she told the cops. She guessed she stabbed him maybe eight times, in his chest and back and side.

Jennifer Ramos said the man fought her, and he tried to control her hand which held the knife. At one point he struck her, and that was how she got her black eye. Jennifer Ramos said, “Cause I deserved it. He punched me in the face. I can’t blame him.”

She confirmed her blood might be on the scene, “Because I got a little cut right here,” she pointed to her right arm.

After the attack, she ran into someone’s patio “because I was wheezing.” She was lightheaded and she couldn’t run anymore, in fact she thought she had Covid. The knife was in her jacket while she crouched, hidden on that guy’s patio. She heard all the police arriving, she was surprised they came so fast. “Then I just went home. I took a shower.”

Jennifer Ramos’ interview with police was audio and video recorded, and played as evidence during a court hearing on October 20, 2021. Ramos, now 24, was handcuffed to chains around her waist while she listened to a full day of evidence against her.

From GoFundMe page for Chad Danielson family

Twelve family members and supporters of the deceased man were in court for the hearing, and there was frequent weeping. The defendant looked impassive, though her face was covered by a Covid mask.

Prosecutor Matt Hardy charged first degree murder, use of deadly weapon, and the special circumstance of lying in wait. (No gang allegations.) Hardy declared that Jennifer Ramos concealed her purpose and the victim was taken by surprise. The target was walking in the pouring rain with a dog and an umbrella and a used doggie bag, and he was distracted, the prosecutor said.

Deputy D.A. Matt Hardy: Ramos followed her victim and took him by surprise; according to the prosecutor, this satisfies lying in wait.

Jennifer Ramos exited her apartment with murderous intent, she crossed the street when she saw her target, she followed him and took him by surprise; according to the prosecutor, this satisfies the lying in wait element.

The public defender argued against the charge of lying in wait, which can mean the death penalty or life in prison with no parole. He pointed out that Jennifer Ramos did not conceal herself, and she did not conceal her purpose. He said she did not watch and wait, she did not know he lived at that house, and as soon as she saw him she started to approach him.

At the end of the hearing, Honorable judge David Brown ordered Jennifer Ramos to answer all charges, including the special circumstances. Ramos pleads not guilty, and continues in a no-bail-hold status in the Las Colinas women’s jail.

Jennifer Ramos is next due in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse in June 2022, to confirm a trial date in August.

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5

She doesn't look very feminine. And I'm not buying her "mental illness" defense. If she has gang ties, gang members will kill because Wednesday comes once a week. Life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Dec. 28, 2021

On the San Diego County Sheriff's website, WHO'S IN JAIL, this defendant is listed as Jennifer Ramos Mendoza. She is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall and 200 pounds and 24 years old. Her next court date is listed as June 14, 2022.

Jan. 18, 2022

Jennifer Mendoza Ramos, who will turn 25 next month, is due in court tomorrow, June 14, 2022, to confirm a trial date in late August. Her trial is expected to be heard in San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse in Vista, California.

June 13, 2022

During a court hearing yesterday, Jennifer Mendoza Ramos got a date of September 6, 2022, for jury trial.

July 7, 2022

Prosecutor Matt Hardy released a statement: "It was announced at the last readiness conference that we will be pursuing LWOP (Life Without Parole) rather than the death penalty. The special circumstances allegation (lying in wait) will be asserted at the jury trial in September."

July 7, 2022

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