|For Immediate Release
August 31, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
PAROLE DENIED FOR MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING FRIEND ON FREEWAY SHOULDER
DURING RUSH-HOUR TRAFFIC
SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, denied parole yesterday for a man convicted of murdering of his friend on a freeway shoulder during Monday morning rush-hour traffic. Ramon Salmoran Cruz, 56, is currently being held at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Blythe, CA. Cruz was sentenced 15 years to life in state prison for a second degree murder conviction on June 29, 1990. This case was originally prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Clyde Von Der Ahe.
Orange County Deputy District Attorney Nagy Morcos appeared to oppose Cruz’s parole. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) maintained that Cruz is a threat to public safety because he lacks remorse and self-improvement and cannot follow rules while incarcerated. Cruz will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2014. Before denying the inmate’s parole, the Board took into consideration the facts of the case, Cruz’s lack of remorse, and his lack of self-help and self-improvement.
Facts of the Case
On the morning of Jan. 16, 1990, Felix Fonbona, 30, met Cruz in a Santa Ana neighborhood and argued over a $750 debt owed to another man. The men got into their own vehicles and headed northbound on Interstate 5 to work. The argument escalated on the freeway and they pulled over near the Crescent Avenue exit. Both men got out of their vehicles and Cruz shot Fonbona. Cruz continued to fire as the victim, shooting him a total of 13 shots, eight of which directly entered the victim’s body while the victim lay mortally wounded on the ground.
Lack of Remorse and Rehabilitation and Threat to Public Safety
The inmate had multiple opportunities to cease firing at the victim but instead continued to fire. His attitude toward the committed offense is one of denial, shallowness and rationalization of his behavior. The inmate has failed to relate any true insight about the murder. The manner in which the crime was committed endangered the lives of dozens of innocent bystanders. By firing 13 bullets on a busy freeway during morning rush-hour traffic, the inmate demonstrated a complete disregard for life and public safety. The OCDA’s parole opposition letter states that the inmate has yet to show remorse for his victim or the victim’s family and believes that “he may act in whatever manner he believes is best for himself without the concern of the impact of his behavior on others.”
The OCDA also states that the inmate demonstrates a “grandiose sense of self-importance, entitlement and determination to do whatever he pleased, regardless of the consequences to others.” The inmate has failed to adequately prepare for parole, as he was told to remain crime free and obtain a GED and learn English. The inmate decided not to follow any of the recommendations and instead committed a new prison rules violation for failing to follow a direct order. Based on the horrific circumstances of his crime, his false sense of entitlement, his inability to follow rules while incarcerated, and his lack of remorse and self-improvement during incarceration, the OCDA believes the inmate would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society and a threat to public safety if released from prison.