For Immediate ReleasePress Contact: Mary Kusmiss, Public Information Officer, (510) 981-5780
ARREST MADE IN 2006 HOMICIDE AT HOUSE PARTY
Berkeley, California (Wednesday, February 25, 2009) - A little over three years from the crime, City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Homicide detectives have secured an arrest and charges for the suspect responsible for the 2006 murder of Juan Carlos Ramos of El Cerrito. On February 24, 2009, Justin Michael Johnson, 19, was charged with one count of PC 187 (a) - Murder and three counts of PC 245 (a)(1) - Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Johnson was arrested in the state of South Carolina and is awaiting extradition to Alameda County.
On Friday, February 10, 2006 around 11:30 p.m., Ramos who was 18 years old at the time was stabbed at a house party at a private home on the 700 block of Contra Costa Avenue in North Berkeley. Three other partygoers were also stabbed, but all survived their wounds. Until recently, the case remained open and no substantive leads or new witnesses had emerged that could secure an arrest in the case. The crime haunted the Ramos family and had frustrated detectives.
Soon after the 2006 death, BPD detectives interviewed dozens of students from Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito High Schools in attempts to gather information for the investigation. Detectives were alerted to MySpace chatter soon after the crime that encouraged partygoers not to talk to police regarding the case. In the weeks following the crime, BPD personnel continued to encourage witnesses and their parents to come forward.
Recently, detectives began reaching out again to witnesses and requested to re-interview them. Although the witnesses were still resistant, detectives were able to gain enough cooperation, which led to Johnson being named as the suspect.