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May 24, 2013

Ramsaran indicted on murder charge

By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — A Chenango County grand jury handed up an indictment Thursday, charging Ganesh “Remy” Ramsaran with second-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 11 disappearance of his 36-year-old wife, Jennifer, in the couple’s home at 473 Sheff Road in New Berlin.

Ramsaran, 38, is tentatively scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment in Chenango County Court on Tuesday, Chenango District Attorney Joseph McBride told The Daily Star Thursday afternoon.

McBride said that Jennifer Ramsaran was killed in her own home. Her husband had told police that he last saw his wife when she left the house that day to go Christmas shopping at a Syracuse mall.

Ramsaran was bailed out of the Chenango County Correctional Facility on Wednesday after $300,000 worth of property was posted to effect his release. He had been in custody since last Friday, when he was arrested and charged with murder by the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office.

Although Ramsaran was arraigned a week ago before Chenango County Judge Frank Revoir Jr., he will be arraigned again next week on the new indictment. That proceeding will allow the conditions of bail to be reviewed, legal experts said. If he pleads not guilty, as expected, the case will be adjourned and a future court date will be scheduled.

On the Chenango Sheriff’s Facebook page Thursday, numerous people posted comments questioning why Ramsaran was allowed to become eligible for bail. McBride had asked Revoir to remand Ramsaran to jail with no bail, arguing he posed a risk to flee the jurisdiction.

A court clerk, Kathy Schell, told The Daily Star on Thursday that she did not have any written record of the bail conditions set for Ramsaran, and referred questions to the courtroom reporter, Helen Hagen.

Hagen said that other than the financial amounts of bail imposed by the judge — $150,000 cash or $300,000 in property — no other conditions of release were placed on Ramsaran.

Ramsaran’s attorney, James Chamberlain of Norwich, said this week that his client would report to the courthouse for all scheduled appearances and is deserving of bail.

Ramsaran has been employed by IBM as a work-at-home project manager. Whether his employment status has been effected by his arrest on a murder charge could not be immediately determined. IBM’s director of external communications, Clint Roswell, did not return a message seeking clarification on Ramsaran’s status with the computer company.

IBM’s web site, however, continued to include a listing and telephone contact information for Ramsaran in the online company directory of employees.

Ramsaran, if convicted of murder, would face a potential maximum penalty of 25 years to life in state prison.

Chamberlain said Ramsaran maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name at trial.

In a Jan. 29 interview with The Daily Star, Ramsaran stated: “I always cooperate, and I will never hire a lawyer. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

In a subsequent interview with The Star, Ramsaran admitted he had an extramarital affair with a married woman who had also been a close friend of his wife. Those interviews were conducted before Jennifer Ramsaran’s body was discovered Feb. 26 off a rural road in the town of Pharsalia. Ramsaran said his wife never learned of the affair he had with her friend.

While acquaintances of Jennifer Ramsaran have described her as a caring and stable mother, Ganesh Ramsaran, in those interviews conducted while she was still listed as a missing person, said her behavior had changed dramatically in the weeks leading up to her disappearance. He also said he feared her disappearance might be linked to what he said was her habit of playing online games with strangers.

“Before she went missing, she lost 20 pounds,” he said. “Let’s just say it was not the healthy way (to lose weight).” When she dropped to 190 pounds, he said, it put her at her lowest weight since she first became a mother in 1999.“There were lots of behavioral changes,” he said. “I was so proud of her that she was 190.”

In another comment about his wife, Ramsaran stated then: “The week before (the disappearance) she spent $300 on brand-new clothes just for herself, and got a new haircut the Friday before she went missing. There were lots of different changes.” He later added: “The kids miss their old mom, not the one that was here the last six or nine months when she went through all the different changes.”

Last year, on his Facebook page, Ramsaran had posted photos of himself with the woman with whom he said he had the affair. That woman has also been his running partner and was one of Jennifer Ramsaran’s closest friends. In the photos, both Ramsaran and the woman were in running clothes.

Prior to reporting his wife missing the evening of Dec. 11, Ramsaran told The Daily Star he went to the Norwich YMCA for a workout.

Authorities now believe that Jennifer Ramsaran had already been murdered at that time. The cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

McBride said he would not discuss the potential evidence in the case.

The couple’s three children are expected to be the focus of a custody battle. While Ramsaran had been jailed, the children had been staying with their maternal grandparents, Thomas and Carol Renz, who also own a home on Sheff Road in New Berlin.

According to acquaintances of the family, Ramsaran’s relationship with his in-laws is now deeply strained.

Ganesh Ramsaran said he used a GPS tracking application to locate his wife’s iPhone on the side of a road in Plymouth on Dec. 12.