PEORIA — The two men accused of killing a Bradley University professor and her husband, who also worked at the school, are scheduled for a Jan. 22, 2019, trial.
Jose G. Ramirez, 21, of 22919 N. Maher Road, and Matthew J. Roberts, 20, of 219 North St. in Princeville, both face two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Susan Brill de Ramirez and Antonio Ramirez Barron, who were last seen on Oct. 25. It's alleged the two used a bat and a knife to kill the couple, who were the adoptive parents of Jose Ramirez. It’s believed they were killed sometime between Friday, Oct. 26, and Sunday, Oct. 28, when their son reported them missing to deputies with the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office.
Barron worked in the university's IT department.
Both Roberts and Ramirez were held on $3 million bond. If convicted, they face at least 20 and possibly up to 60 years in prison on each count. As there are two victims, it’s possible the men could be given consecutive sentences if convicted of both murders.
At bond hearings last month, prosecutors laid out a possible motive, saying that Ramirez had spoken of killing his parents and that he was “sick of them.” It appears the two men lay in wait outside the house late Thursday night until the parents went to sleep. They went into their room, sprayed the couple with pepper spray and then hit them with the bats before stabbing them, according to court records. A prosecutor at one of those hearings said the couple suffered crushed skulls and multiple stabbings. Ramirez and Roberts considered trying to clean up the bloody scene, but instead decided to dump the bodies in the Spoon River near Laura and stage a robbery, according to court records.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.