PHILADELPHIA (November 30, 2023) – Following is a statement prepared by Assistant District Attorney David Napiorski of the DA’s Law Division Federal Litigation Unit as well as District Attorney Larry Krasner for a hearing before the Court of Common Pleas, which on Thursday granted the DAO’s motion to nolle pros all charges against Edward “Eddie” Ramirez (DOB: 11/10/1976), whose conviction for a 1995 murder was vacated by the court earlier this month:
“In 1998, Eddie Ramirez was convicted of 2nd Degree Murder for the killing of Joyce Dennis in the back room of a laundromat in 1995. No physical evidence was tied to any suspect, and the Commonwealth’s case at trial relied on cooperating co-defendant William Weihe and three other teenagers who alleged they overheard Ramirez speak about the murder. Ramirez argued he was not present and was not involved in the murder, though at the time those arguments had little corroboration.
“For more than 25 years, however, the Commonwealth withheld substantial evidence that supported Ramirez’s trial defense. Despite the existence of this evidence, prior DA administrations presented argument to the trial court as well as various post-conviction courts that was either directly refuted or called into question by the withheld evidence. It was not until District Attorney Larry Krasner took office that withheld evidence was provided to Ramirez as part of his Post Conviction Relief Act litigation.
“The failure by prior DAs to disclose this evidence to Ramirez – which he had always been entitled to under the U.S. Constitution – was unacceptable and outrageous. As a representative of the institution, I believe the Philadelphia DA’s Office should be accountable for its errors and misconduct, including that of long-gone prosecutors and prior elected DAs. On behalf of the DAO, I apologize to the Court, to the victim’s family, and to Mr. Ramirez and his family for the effect that past violations of his rights had on this case and on everyone involved.
“Additionally, though prior administrations unacceptably fought the testing, DNA testing was more recently performed on a number of items related to this investigation: underneath the victim’s fingernails, the murder weapon, and a fleece vest used to wipe down the murder weapon. DNA was recovered and tested. Mr. Ramirez was excluded as a contributor to the male DNA found on all three of these items.
“It is against this backdrop that we moved today to withdraw all criminal charges against Mr. Ramirez. We are pleased that the Court agreed.”
The DA’s response to Ramirez’s PCRA petitions can be found on PhillyDA.org. Information on exonerations – which occur when a court both vacates a conviction and grants a motion to nolle pros the charges – secured by the DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit and Law Division can be found on the DA’s DATA Dashboard.
Jane Roh, 215-686-8711, [email protected]
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.