Charges against 2nd suspect in Statons' deaths dropped
Homer and Joann Staton are seen in this undated family photo. (File/Staton Family)
Irving Ramirez (Anderson Co. Sheriff's Office)
Matthew Fullbright listens to a judge in an Anderson County courtroom. (File/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Charges against the second man charged in the beating deaths of a Taylors couple three years ago were dropped Thursday.
Investigators said that on Oct. 23, 2009, Homer Staton and his wife, JoAnn Staton, met up with 29-year-old Matthew Fullbright, who had told the couple he wanted to sell some jewelry. They said that Fullbright then beat the couple to death, stole $75,000 from them and then dumped Homer Staton's body in a different location.
Fullbright, of Belton, was arrested several days later and charged with two counts of murder and two counts of armed robbery.
After his arrest, Fullbright gave a confession to investigators, indicating Irving Ramirez was also involved in the Statons' deaths, which resulted in Ramirez's arrest.
In an exclusive interview with Ramirez on Thursday, he told FOX Carolina he met Fullbright back in 2009 when they lived in the same neighborhood. He said Fullbright would ask him for help with food and money.
"It wasn't until after I looked at the news when he got arrested, I was like, 'Oh wow, I know that guy,'" Ramirez said. "When he pointed the finger at me, I didn't know what to say or think."
On Jan. 27, Fullbright was convicted of two counts of murder and two counts of armed robbery in connection with the couple's death. At the trial, investigators said that Ramirez's role in the case could not be proven.
On Thursday, 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams said that phone records indicate that Ramirez was not involved in the murders. She said there also is no physical evidence that ties Ramirez to the crime.
"I just praise the Lord and I'm so happy and elated that this is done and over with," Ramirez said.
Adams said that the evidence indicates that Fullbright acted alone when he killed the Statons. However, JoAnn Staton's sister, Clara Smith, is upset and doesn't think Ramirez is innocent.
"We were very disappointed that this happened," Smith said. "To see this happen, we just find it hard to believe."
Smith said she thinks about her sister and brother-in-law every day.
"You don't have closure because no matter what you're doing any time of the day, evening or night, that pops in your head," Smith said.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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