Friday, December 10, 2010

San Jose, CA: San Jose: Engineer, 36, guilty of murder in shooting death of ex-wife

By Lisa Fernandez

A man who opened fire on his ex-wife in front of her fiance and young children when she answered the front door just after Christmas in 2008 has been found guilty of murdering her.
A Santa Clara County jury on Wednesday found Daniel Tilbury, 36, a former network engineer, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Kristine Ramos, 33. Officials believe the shooting was sparked by a battle over custody of their three sons, who at the time of her death ranged in age from 4 to 7.
In all, Ramos was the mother of six children, including two children she had with her longtime fiance who were with her when she was shot.
Ramos also was the daughter of former KPIX-TV (Ch. 5) veteran newsman Manny Ramos.
Tilbury shot Ramos just before 9 p.m. on Dec. 29, 2008, at her home in the 7200 block of Rosencrans Way, off Santa Teresa Boulevard in South San Jose. She was shot many times as her children, fiance and other family members looked on.
Police found Tilbury in his car and took him into custody about 30 minutes after the shooting.
"No, this doesn't bring me any closure," said Manny Ramos, who interviewed many grieving families during his news career. "I never expected it would. I just wanted it to be over so it wasn't hanging over my head. I just want my daughter back, and that's not going to happen."
The jury of six men and six women took about two days to reach their verdict in a trial that lasted less than a month. The jury could

have found him guilty of manslaughter, second degree murder or first degree murder.
"This was not a slam dunk," a juror who did not want his name used told the Mercury News. "We quickly dispensed with manslaughter. It was simply too brutal and heinous for that. We did find there was provocation. And we ultimately, in the late hours of the second day, came to a conclusion that it was murder in the first degree."
Tilbury, who before the shooting moved from San Jose to become a network engineer in Tukwila, Wash., is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28. He faces a maximum of 50 years to life in prison, said Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Amy Cornell.
Deputy District Attorney Valerie McGuire prosecuted the case, and Deputy Public Defender Sylvia Perez represented Tilbury.
Kristine Ramos' brother, Michael Ramos, was the star witness of the trial, the juror reported, and was one of the witnesses to the shooting.
Kristine Ramos' fiance at the time of her death, Fabian Gonzales, did not testify, which the anonymous juror said surprised the jurors. That's because Gonzales also witnessed the shooting and was featured in a Mercury News column a year after Ramos' death.
Gonzales is now raising two children he and Ramos had together, plus another son he had before he met Ramos. Ramos also leaves behind a son from a previous relationship. He and the children Ramos had with Tilbury are all being raised by various grandparents.
Gonzales could not be reached for comment Thursday, but according to his interview last year "the boys" Ramos had with Tilbury -- Hunter, now 9; Jacob, 8; and Justin, 6 -- were apparently at the heart of Tilbury's rage.
When Tilbury got a job out of state, he told Ramos that he wanted to take their sons with him. But Ramos wanted to share custody. Tilbury wouldn't have it, and when he threatened to leave with the boys, Ramos obtained a court order giving her 100 percent custody. On the day he killed her, Tilbury dropped their three boys off at his mother's, then drove to his ex's home and put an end to their battle once and for all.
"Daniel walked toward us and pulled out a gun and shot Kristine several times, killing her in the presence of our kids," Gonzales said in the interview last year. "It was like I wasn't even there. He was dead-focused on her."

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