Two Members of Court Audience Removed by Judge during Intense Bail Hearing

By Angelina Sang

RIVERBANK, CA – Two people were removed from a courtroom by bailiffs here Monday in Stanislaus County Superior Court during a tense pretrial bail hearing for 28-year-old Jonathan Alexander Ray, who allegedly fatally shot 40-year-old Salvador Ramos outside an Applebee’s in Riverbank on May 20.

Ray was charged with the premeditated murder of Ramos, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office.

During Ray’s pretrial bail hearing Monday, Deputy District Attorney Larissa Jones pressed hard for Ray to remain in custody. She argued that Ray would be a flight risk and a danger to the community after fatally shooting an unarmed stranger at close range in Applebee’s crowded parking lot.

“The defendant [Ray] went to his car, retrieved a firearm, loaded it, went across the parking lot looking for the victim. The victim came out of his car, and then the defendant shot at the victim three times,” said DDA Jones. “Two of the bullets hit the victim; one in his abdomen, one in his head.”

Ray’s defense attorney Robert L. Forkner presented the scene in stark contrast to Jones’ interpretation, noting, “That’s their version of the facts,” insisting Ray shot the victim to defend himself.

Forkner charged, “The victim threatened to kill my client [Ray] numerous times.”

Forkner shared Ray’s background as a security guard, trained in firearms. He told the court Ray warned the victim numerous times to “back off” before he shot him.

Forkner suggested the victim may have had San Francisco gang affiliations, referencing a conversation Ray and Ramos had in Applebee’s and the gang-related tattoos on the victim’s body. Forkner added the accused had called 911 himself after shooting Ramos.

“My client has never had trouble a day in his life,” Forkner asserted before another member of the court audience interrupted the courtroom, aggressively standing up and shouting expletives at Ray.

The bailiffs removed the furious person from the courtroom, and Judge Ricardo Córdova said he would limit the in-person audience for Ray’s next court appearances. He warned that if anything like this happened again, the number of people allowed in the courtroom would be limited.

Not five minutes later, another person was caught videotaping the court proceedings and the bailiffs, again, had to remove them.

Judge Córdova had enough, ruling, “At future hearings, I’m only going to allow three people from each side to be at the hearings. I’m not going to let this happen again.”

After more intense back and forth between Jones and Forkner, Judge Córdova acknowledged that two very different sides of the story existed.

However, because Ray fled the scene after shooting Ramos, Judge Córdova decided to keep the bail set, and voiced his concerns over the seriousness of Ray’s charges, public safety and the flight risk Ray creates.

Ray’s preliminary examination is scheduled for Aug. 26.

About The Author

Angelina is a junior at UCSB from San Carlos, California studying Psychological and Brain Sciences and History pursuing a pre-law track.

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1 Comment

  1. Jaanvi Kaur

    Hi Angelina,

    I thought your article was quite interesting. I love how you focused on the case and included the event that transpired during the trial. I find it shocking that people behaved that way, especially in such a formal proceeding. I think Judge Cordova handled the situation really well as it could have easily deterred the case from progressing.

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