50-year murder sentence reduced to 27 years for man who killed his ex-wife — (NJ.com)

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NJ.com

Posted on March 24, 2017 at 2:10 PM

By Tom Haydon  thaydon@njadvancemedia.com

ELIZABETH –A Roselle man sentenced to 50 years in prison for the 2006 killing of his ex-wife but then had his murder conviction overturned, was re-sentenced Friday to 27 years in prison.

The man, Ademir Ramalho, now 64, could be released in about 12 years because he will receive credit for the time he has been in custody since his 2006 arrest for fatally stabbing 51-year-old Lucia Emeliano.

Superior Court Judge Scott Moynihan ordered the 27-year prison term, and said Ramalho must serve nearly 23 years before being eligible for parole. He pointed out that Ramalho has already been in custody about 10 years since his arrest.

Authorities said Ramalho and Emeliano grew up together in Brazil. Ramalho came to the United States and married, but divorced his first wife to bring Emeliano here and marry her.

The marriage, however, was marked by domestic violence, and in 2006 Emeliano obtained a divorce and a restraining order against her husband, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Colleen Ruppert said.

Ruppert said Ramalho stalked the woman, often driving past the office where she worked and to the home in Elizabeth where she stayed with a friend.

On July 23, 2006, Ramalho drove to the home, saw the woman trying to get into her car and parked so she was pinned between her vehicle and his rental car, Ruppert said.

“She had her keys in the car door. That’s how close she was to escaping,” Ruppert said. She said Ramalho stabbed his ex-wife four times, then drove away, stopping only when he saw a Kean University police officer. He quickly told the officer that he had killed his wife.

In 2009, a jury convicted Ramalho of murder, but in 2013 an appeals court overturn the conviction, saying the trial court judge failed to provide instructions on the relevance of the man’s mental condition. Ramalho had been on medication for depression, and doctors had determined he was delusional.

Last January, Ramalho pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree aggravated manslaughter.

Ramalho’s lawyer, John Caruso of the public defender’s office, said his client’s only prior criminal record was for minor offenses of illegally selling liquor. Caruso said his client had been a loving father to his six children, but he became a broken and obsessed man when Emeliano left him.

Standing handcuffed in court, Ramalho wept as he admitted stabbing his ex-wife, a woman he loved. He then asked for mercy, and for the chance to return to his work in construction.

Moynihan called the killing a “jealous rage,” and that Ramalho had consistently shown only concern for himself.

“Even up to today. All I heard from you is how you worked and how you want to work. Not one word of empathy or sorrow for the victim,” Moynihan said.

Tom Haydon may be reached at thaydon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_HaydonSL. Find NJ.com on Facebook.