Man whose Supreme Court appeal overturned split juries found not guilty in second murder trial

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 9:20 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Thursday afternoon (March 9), Evangelisto Ramos made his way out of the Orleans Justice Center almost a day after being found not guilty in his second murder trial.

He was side-by-side with his attorney Sarah Chervinksy as the two thought back on the years of legal battles they endured.

“This is the best possible outcome that you could hope for, to see someone regain their freedom,” Chervinsky said.

Eight years ago, Ramos was accused in the brutal stabbing death of Trenice Fedison, whose body was found dumped in a trash can in her Central City neighborhood. In 2016, Ramos was convicted of murder in a split 10-2 jury vote and sentenced to life.

Louisiana voters later changed the state law to require unanimous juries, and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ramos’ conviction.

“It’s the greatest feeling. It’s the reason I do this work,” Chervinsky said.

Fedison’s sister, Lorraine Fedison-Winder, still believes Ramos is a killer.

In a statement, she says the retrial brought on an array of emotions for her and loved ones. She writes:

The retrial has fostered an array of emotions for both my family and I, especially her only daughter Jade. As a black woman, one can not help but be elated about the dismantling of a Jim Crow law. Nevertheless, after sitting through the first trial and hearing the state present the evidence, I along with my family and the majority of jurors were, and still are convinced that Ramos did in fact kill my sister. His DNA was found inside of her, under her finger nails and he was the predominant contributor on the trash can she was found in.

I am convinced that “they” wanted a complete narrative that stated, “We changed the law, we held a new trial, and he was found NOT GUILTY...”, because it provides notoriety for lawyers and non-profit organizations. They sought out a case that they could punch holes in, spin and win regardless of the truth.

We are however, thankful for New Orleans DA Jason Williams and his administration who worked tirelessly to try to convict again. They were intentional, professional and compassionate as they navigated reopening wounds from the past in preparation for the trial.

Obviously we are disappointed with the outcome of the second trial. However, if we succumb to all the frenzy around the case and the verdict, it will bring attention to a murderer. Instead, we have peace in knowing she is resting with God and trust that God will in fact provide vengeance.

FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti says because it’s been so long since the crime, it was more challenging for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office to get a conviction.

“To me, I’m not surprised we get a non-guilty verdict on a case like this,” Raspanti said. “Witnesses dissapear, they die, they forget. Cases are harder to prosecute the older they get.”

In a statement, the district attorney’s office said they did what they could to bring closure to Fedison’s family:

We respect this jury; we respect their sacrifice of time, and we respect the rule of law. Our ADAs eruditely presented every piece of legal evidence possible and available after 8 years. The family of the victim, Miss Trenice Fedison, has suffered immeasurable pain and loss throughout this very grueling legal journey without closure. There has been much talk about Evangelisto Ramos but very few know the name of Trenice Fedison as well, who lost her life in a horrific way. She was loved; she is missed, and she should be remembered.

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