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.