Local News

Illegal immigrant charged in Fayetteville woman's death

Posted December 17, 2008 8:27 a.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2008 5:59 p.m. EST

— Cumberland County investigators arrested an illegal immigrant from Honduras in connection with the death of a 64-year-old woman Tuesday.

Julio Cesar Ramos, 45, who claims to be homeless and unemployed, is charged with beating Paulette Locklear outside her house Tuesday afternoon. He was being held without bond Wednesday in the Cumberland County Detention Center.

Investigators said Ramos had been deported at least a dozen times over the last 20 years but kept getting back into the U.S. Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Charlotte, could confirm only one deportation – from Houston in 1988 – and neither she nor local authorities could say what felony charges prompted the deportation.

Locklear and her family befriended Ramos, and she even let him live in a small building behind her house, at 1213 Wilmington Highway, said her brother, Paul Brewington, and nephew, Jeremy Brewington.

"The family just helped him any way we could," Jeremy Brewington said. "He would come and help us work, and we would pay him. He's just been sort of part of the family for a long time."

Paul Brewington said he took Ramos to church after seeing him walking along the road in Gray's Creek and learning he lived in the woods nearby.

"We just started helping him and giving him food and giving him clothes and stuff," he said. "That's what she was doing to this fellow – just giving him a helping hand."

Locklear called 911 for help Tuesday when Ramos became violent and started breaking windows in an attempt to get inside her house, according to authorities.

Deputies found Locklear's body when they arrived at her house.

"She was a wonderful person, and we're going to miss her a lot," Paul Brewington said.

The state medical examiner’s office has not determined her cause of death, and authorities haven't determined a motive for the slaying.

"We're having trouble determining exactly what his name is because, during the times he was deported, he used several different aliases," said Debbie Tanna, a spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

Jeremy Brewington said his family was unaware Ramos had been deported so many times. He said it appeared the man was mentally challenged and was known to have a temper.

"We didn't think he would do anything of this nature. We didn't really see that in him," he said. "He would get angry sometimes and would leave ... for a while. (He) would come back, and we would take him in and help him any way we could."