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May 23, 2013

Ramsaran released on $300K bail

Children subjects of custody battle

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Accused killer Ganesh “Remy” Ramsaran was freed from Chenango County Jail on Wednesday afternoon after he and relatives posted $300,000 worth of real estate to meet bail conditions set by County Judge Frank Revoir Jr.

Ramsaran, 38, of New Berlin had been jailed last Friday after he was charged by the Chenango County Sheriff’s Department with second-degree murder in connection with the alleged killing of his wife, Jennifer, 36, last December.

He has asserted in interviews with The Daily Star that he had nothing to do with her disappearance. He has also questioned the relevance of the fact he had an affair with one of her closest friends, a woman who had also become his running partner.

“He maintains his innocence, and we are going to defend him vigorously,” said defense lawyer James Chamberlain of Norwich.

Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride had requested that Ramsaran be held without bail, suggesting the accused killer — facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted — could be motivated to flee the jurisdiction. On Wednesday, the prosecutor declined to comment on the fact that Revoir made Ramsaran eligible for bail.

A Chenango County grand jury is expected to be presented with evidence in the case today. Because of that proceeding, McBride said he has no plans to go forward today with what had been a scheduled court appearance for Ramsaran in the New Berlin Town Court.

Jennifer Ramsaran’s unclothed body was found Feb. 26 off a rural road in the town of Pharsalia, several miles from where Ganesh Ramsaran said he found his wife’s iPhone off the side of a road in Plymouth on Dec. 12. Authorities have yet to disclose the cause of her death.

The family minivan that Ganesh Ramsaran said his wife had been driving the day she vanished was found Dec. 16 outside the Plank Road Manor Apartments in Norwich. The vehicle was located by Jennifer Ramsaran’s father.

Chamberlain said it appears that McBride is fashioning a circumstantial case against Ramsaran, noting his client has consistently denied any involvement with his wife’s death.

He said he expects Ramsaran, a project manager for IBM, will seek to stay involved in the lives of his three young children. The three children were in school Dec. 11, the last day Jennifer Ramsaran had been seen alive.

“The children are near and dear to him,” said Chamberlain. With their father charged with killing their mother, Chamberlain said he expects there will be litigation in Family Court over custodial arrangements for the children.

Since the arrest of their father, the children have been staying with their maternal grandparents, Carol and Thomas Renz, who also own a home in New Berlin.

If convicted of the charge he is facing, Ramsaran could be sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.

Chamberlain said his client looks forward to having his day in court. “I don’t feel that he is a flight risk,” he said.

Allowing defendants facing murder charges to be released on bail is unusual, said veteran criminal defense lawyer Terence L. Kindlon of Albany.

“Norrmally, bail will be denied or set so incredibly high nobody can make it,” Kindlon, noting he has represented at least 30 defendants charged with murder in upstate New York,, told The Daily Star. “Bail is just not something you normally get (in serious felony cases), and this is more true now than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago.”

Kindlon said the only two considerations that courts should evaluate in considering bail applications is whether the defendant is a danger to the community and whether he poses a risk to flee the jurisdiction of the court.

“Frankly, I applaud the judge” for making a murder defendant eligible for bail, Kindlon said. “I think that’s the right thing to do. To use bail as punishment is the wrong thing to do, even though it’s the typical thing that’s done” in state courts.