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Illegal immigrants suspected of killing 12-year-old girl could be ‘death penalty eligible’

District Attorney Kim Ogg for Harris County, Texas, said Monday that the suspects involved in the killing of Jocelyn Nungaray, 12, could receive the death penalty if enough evidence is found in this investigation. Ogg, who lost her primary race for reelection in March, said one of the suspects in Nungaray’s death, Franklin Jose Pena […]

District Attorney Kim Ogg for Harris County, Texas, said Monday that the suspects involved in the killing of Jocelyn Nungaray, 12, could receive the death penalty if enough evidence is found in this investigation.

Ogg, who lost her primary race for reelection in March, said one of the suspects in Nungaray’s death, Franklin Jose Pena Ramos, was arraigned and had his bond set at $10 million. While Ramos’s charge is not currently eligible for the death penalty, the investigation into Nungaray’s death is ongoing. Additional evidence supporting charges of sexual assault or kidnapping could make both Ramos and fellow suspect Johan Jose Rangel Martinez “death penalty eligible.”

“Make no mistake: This is a horrific crime, and when we take charges, we do it based on the evidence we have at the moment,” Ogg said. “We look forward to working with our lab and continuing to work with our investigators, and it’s obvious that Jocelyn had a loving family. The support that they’ve shown will continue because their daughter, like all of our children, was one of our most vulnerable citizens, and we have to protect our most valuable resources: Our kids.”


Ogg also addressed a report that stated Ramos removed his ankle monitor two days after Nungaray’s body was found, clarifying she could not “speak to” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement releasing immigrants into the United States with ankle bracelets. She added that the country’s immigration system is “broken” and that Nungaray’s case reflects this.

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Martinez and Ramos were released into the U.S. with GPS monitoring systems after illegally crossing the southern border into El Paso, Texas, this year. Martinez crossed the border on March 14 and was released from the system two months later. Ramos crossed the border on May 28 and removed his GPS system himself, according to a report.

Nungaray’s mother, Alexis, also spoke at the press conference, expressing thanks for the support she has received in the wake of her daughter’s death. She also condemned the “monsters” for taking her daughter from her and asked people to remember that her daughter “deserves her justice.”

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Security footage showed Martinez and Ramos following Nungaray into a convenience store, with the victim disappearing shortly after and found dead floating in a bayou. Both suspects in this case are illegal immigrants from Venezuela, and both have been charged with capital murder. 

Johan Jose Martinez Rangel, left, Jocelyn Nungaray, center, and Franklin Jose Pena Ramos, right. (Houston Police Department)

Nungaray’s death has caught the attention of former President Donald Trump, who blamed President Joe Biden for her death due to his immigration policies. He added that he looks forward to the debate and seeing Biden explain “why he has allowed MILLIONS of people” into the country illegally.

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