Foxhole Atheist Murder Mystery

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that a former soldier was killed because he was atheist.

The soldier had a troubled past; apparently, he was reported missing from Ft Sill in December of 2005. It is unclear if this was a violation of his enlistment.

Brittany Green allegedly told authorities that her brother [Justin Green] said he had shot Ramirez twice because he “did not believe in God and alleged that Ramirez reached for a gun,” the complaint said. Terri Green helped her son move Ramirez’s body from the home’s garage to the shallow grave, the complaint said.

Justin Green is currently being held on $1,000,000 bond and awaiting trial for first-degree murder. The secret had been kept among several people for years, but one person finally decided to come forward.

Because of the explicit report about Ramirez’s beliefs being a factor, I contacted the District Attorney covering the case and asked about the applicability of the James Byrd Hate Crimes Act of 2001. He said that the Act specifically excludes 1st-degree murder. He said the function of the Act is to “ratchet-up” the potential penalties, but that is irrelevant for 1st degree murder, so applying hate crimes charges would have no practical effect.

More updates will be posted if relevant changes arise.

About Jason Torpy

**Comments at Friendly Atheist do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers are any other organizations.** Jason Torpy serves as President of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF), a nonprofit community for atheists and humanists in the military. MAAF also educates military leaders about the needs of nontheists and advocates where necessary. Jason is a former Army Captain and Iraq veteran with a Bachelor of Science degree from West Point and an MBA from The Ohio State University.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sfjetland Serge Fjetland

    ‘course he had to shoot first, since the athiest didn’t have  the god given morals, and might have shot him!

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    I think there is a practical effect… on other people. I really think they should consider this a hate crime. We have to let it be known that it is not okay to kill someone because they are an atheist. You would think that would be obvious, but it isn’t and we have to make sure people get that. 

    • Annie

      The article states that it won’t be considered a hate crime, as it is already a first degree murder charge. 

      • Anonymous

         I do wish there was a “note it as a hate crime” bit in the course of the prosecution.  I do understand how and why the law was constructed that way, but it would be… not ‘good’, but ‘helpful’ to make it clear that yes, there is anti-atheist violence.  It’s not common, at all, but it does occur.

        • Annie

          I agree.  Even though it may be too late for this case, it would be  a worthy goal for Texan atheists to push to get first degree murder included in the Act. 

      • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

         I know it is not, but I am saying it should. It isn’t about adding extra time to the punishment, it is about sending a message to other people.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    There’s still a lot unknown.
    The soldier went missing in 2005, but the death is estimated as 2007?
    There must be some context in which the dead guy would (allegedly) proclaim his disbelief and reach for his gun. Odd.
    That the shooter did not report the incident, but instead buried the body does not make me want to believe whatever he may have to say about the circumstance of the shooting.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/todd.stiefel Todd Stiefel

    For someone to shoot first when someone else goes for their gun, the shooter would have had to have a gun already ready and likely already pointing at the victim.

  • Anonymous Atheist

    First Pat Tillman, now Jose Ramirez…

    • Wintermute

       It’s more than a little disingenuous to suggest that Pat Tillman’s death had something to do with his beliefs, given that it occurred during a friendly fire incident. If you were merely implying that the two are connected because they both involve dead soldiers, then I would point out you could say the same of quite a few more cases.

      • http://www.twitter.com/a_okafor007 Anthony C. Okafor

        Friendly fire my ass!!!

        • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

          Do you understand the fog of war?  Do you know what it’s like to have to deal with the reality of a complex conflict that involves multiple units moving and attacking simultaneously?  Do you honestly live in a world where the ugly, dirty, gritty chaos of war is so simple and clear that friendly fire isn’t a legitimate concern?

          You have no idea what you’re talking about.  Friendly fire is a real thing that really does happen, and we work hard, very fucking hard, every god damned day to avoid it – but when you’re taking fire and need to make a snap decision, and when that decision could be resting on the shoulders of a kid who’s just a few years past being able to drink, things can go wrong.  It’s not good, and it’s not pretty, but it’s reality.

          Get off your god damned high horse.  Soldiers don’t kill other soldiers because of their beliefs.  You drag your buddy away from danger whenever you can even if he’s the biggest jackass on the planet.  You risk your life for someone you wouldn’t give the time of day to because you’re both fucking soldiers, and that’s just what you do.  You drag them or throw them over your shoulder or give them buddy aid or provide covering fire or do what you need to do so you can make sure that they come home.

          • http://www.twitter.com/a_okafor007 Anthony C. Okafor

            “Soldiers don’t kill other soldiers because of their beliefs”
            HOW DO YOU KNOW? Did you know the circumstances behind EVERY SINGLE DEAD SOLDIER??? NO YOU DON’T. I need YOU to GET OFF YOUR OWN HIGH HORSE SIR!!!!!!

    • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

      I’ve been gone for awhile because I’ve been in training, but now that I’m back I would like to respond to this, even though it’s a few weeks old.

      To Anonymous Atheist and the two people who “liked” the comment, you’re idiots. Soldiers don’t kill other soldiers because of their beliefs.  It’s offensive to even imply that.

      We sit back and give our lives, our futures, our relationships, and our innocence to fight for the freedoms that this country stands for and then people go off and suggest that we’re willing and ready to kill each other for something as pointless as religion.

      Here’s the reality of the situation: your religion doesn’t matter at all on the battlefield.  You don’t care what the person next to you believes because they’re your brother in arms.  You fight for them, whatever they believe, you fight to keep them alive and when they die for whatever reason you carry that with you.  My company knows that I’m an atheist.  I’m not the only atheist.  We also have a Muslim, agnostics, all manner of x-ians and a Wiccan.  We even have a Buddhist.  You know who cares about this shit?  Not a damned one of us.  We’re infantrymen, and as far as we’re concerned you can believe that the whole of existence is on a turd floating in the toilet of some intergalactic clown college so long as you can do your job right.

  • Wild Rumpus

    Han Solo shot first!

  • Giant enemy crab

    Based on the limited information there is I doubt his lack of godly beliefs was the reason he was killed. Sounded more like they had an argument and then both of them decided to get their guns, but Green got to his first.

    Also considering how long they kept this a secret I don’t really think her allegations are entirely trustworthy.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    The fact that it took so long for this to come out really makes the testimony of the accused untrustworthy. Of course, it’s easy to say, “He’s an atheist, and he reached for his gun,” since most people are intolerant and would assume that the atheist is the instigator. Why was the gun being reached for? When did Ramirez say he was an atheist?  

    The real issue here is that on human being murdered another. Labeling it a hate-crime doesn’t change anything, since it’s first-degree murder already, and Ramirez won’t be getting out for the rest of his life. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    Hows this one sound….

    Two guys sitting round drinkng and swapping war stories. God botherer brings up god, potentially with the canard of NAIF. His mate corrects him and comes out as an atheist. God botherer n his alcoholic haze gets angry, his mate defends, argument escalates. God botherer draws gun and ponts it at the atheist, he reaches for his. God botherer shoots atheist dead, and then as hes a hellbound durned atheist decides to bury him in the rose patch.

    Mamma god botherer calls for pizza.

    My call is IMHO there was only one gun, and the god botherer had it, a skin full of Wild Turkey, and a mindset that he was doing the good Gods work.

    Chance of the truth coming out….about as much as one of Harold Camping’s predictions coming true.

    • Wintermute

       Ooh, this is fun, let me play! I think it was Professor Plum, in the study, with the wrench!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_53624A6DFJXVNILVAIN57WK43I tiredofyourPAB

        Oh hell, now I’m laughing my ass off. 
        Also I find it interesting that an atheist even uses God’s name in vain, which is still giving God some credit. It aint nuttin but a blame game. One more thought; which foxes hole are they referring to?

    • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

      To anyone who has actually been in a foxhole, faced small arms fire, incoming IDF or a real threat of IEDs that sounds fucking ridiculous.  You don’t sit around and swap war stories because that’s just not shit you want to talk about.  Even if you do the faith, or lack thereof, of the people with you has nothing to do with it.  The last thing you’re going to find in a war is god, whether you believe or not.

      I hate the assumption that soldiers are mindless god freaks who drink, clean their guns and kill without compunction.

      Here’s the reality: I’m a current infantryman and my job is to kill people and get killed.  That’s what we do.  I’m also an atheist, and plenty of my fellow infantrymen know it and do you know how much it matters now, or how much it mattered in Iraq?  Not at all.  You know what did matter?  The guy next to you.  No one who’s been through that shit would kill someone else who’s been through the same shit over a religious belief.  It.  Just.  Doesn’t.  Matter.

      And, seriously, why the hell are your two theoretical dudes just sitting around with guns?  Really?  Is that how you picture the people who are ready and willing to give their lives for your freedoms?  A bunch of angry drunks who just sit around with their guns waiting for an excuse to blast somebody?

  • Gabriel

    I lived 5 miles from this shit hole town for almost 9 years. It is a disgusting place with frightened narrow minded people. My main worry is if the deceased has any chance of justice. Murdering and hiding the body of an atheist would be considered justified by many of the residents of that county. I can see the murderer getting away with it by making sure the jury knows the victim was an atheist.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    Pointed observation: He recalled the man’s atheism before acknowledging that he went for his gun.


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