Photos and VideosMore Photos and Videos
Prosecutors shocked a courtroom Thursday when they accused a Bronx police officer at the center of a ticket-fixing scandal of setting up a murder-for-hire along with his wife. They say Jose Ramos and his wife pulled money out of his NYPD pension and planned to give the cash to the killer. Andrew Siff reports.
A Bronx police officer at the center of the NYPD ticket-fixing scandal has been charged, along with his wife, with conspiring to hire a hit man to murder a key witness against him.
Prosecutors say veteran police officer Jose Ramos and his wife, Wanda Abreu, intended for the witness to be killed during a planned trip to Texas so they'd have an alibi.
"He sold his badge," said Bronx Assistant District Attorney Omer Wiczyk. "He has sold his soul."
Ramos' and Abreu's charges include three counts of second-degree conspiracy, punishable with 25 years imprisonment.
"We are blindsided by this," said defense attorney Dawn Florio. "My client is not guilty."
The DA alleges the couple spoke in person and on the phone in code, using five different aliases for their intended victim. Some of the conversations were recorded at Rikers Island, where Ramos is awaiting trial, court papers say.
"They were willing to pay a fee, but it was crucial to them they not be involved in the murder," Wiczyk said.
The Bronx DA's office said the couple agreed on a price and withdrew the funds from Ramos' NYPD pension. But before handing over the money, prosecutors said, Abreu suspected she was being recorded, and called it off.
Acccording to prosecutors, Ramos told his wife to deliver the money:
"Go ahead, do it. But do it right away."
Ramos is being held without bail. The judge set a $500,000 bail for Abreu, or $100,000 cash.
Ramos pleaded not guilty last year to a range of corruption charges, including accusations that he attempted to transport heroin from the Bronx to Brooklyn, steal money from drug dealers, and commit a robbery while on duty. He was among 16 police officers arrested then in connection with a ticket-fixing probe.
The pair is due back in court Aug. 3.
Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Sign up for email newsletters here. Get breaking news delivered right to your phone -- just text NYBREAKING to 639710. For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.