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Jason James Reyes

Jason James Reyes, left, appears in court on June 5, 2012.

Sentinel file photo

HANFORD — A man accused of shooting a father in front of his 8-year-old daughter was recently removed from the Kings County Jail due to numerous violent acts against other inmates.

Jason James Reyes is charged with first-degree homicide for the March 5, 2012, shooting death of Armando Ramirez Jr., 32, at the Rite Aid on Lacey Boulevard in Hanford. Ramirez was walking with his young daughter at the time of the attack. Police said the killing may have been revenge against Ramirez, who was convicted of molesting Reyes’ daughter about 10 years earlier.

Reyes was found mentally unfit to stand trial in June 2012 and sent to a state mental hospital for treatment. He was declared competent in mid-2013.

Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson said that, since his arrest on March 16, 2012, Reyes has committed numerous assaults in the jail. After Reyes allegedly tried to kill an inmate in August 2016, the county reached out to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and sought a court order to house him at California State Prison, Corcoran.

“We had a concern for the safety of other inmates,” Robinson said.

State law allows the sheriff to move jail inmates to a state prison if the inmate is a threat to other people in the jail or is likely to cause substantial damage to the facility. The law does not require the prison system to accept jail inmates.

The Kings County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement this week to pay the CDCR $77 per day to house Reyes for up to 648 days, which could total about $50,000. It costs $55.73 a day to house an inmate at the Kings County Jail.

Robinson said the housing unit where Reyes was living only allowed one prisoner to be out of their cell at a time. Reyes allegedly manipulated the lock on his cell’s food port, which allows jail staff to deliver meals and other items, and lured another inmate over to his cell. When the inmate complied, Robinson said, Reyes grabbed the inmate and tried to cut him with a razorblade from a jail-issued shaving kit.

Robinson said the jail is required by law to provide inmates with grooming materials, including plastic disposable single-blade razors for shaving. Violent inmates are still entitled to use the razors, but may only possess them under staff supervision.

Court records show Reyes’ trial was previously set for September 12, 2016, just weeks after the incident.

Reyes is now being housed at Corcoran State Prison with his trial set to begin on Feb. 23. Robinson said the maximum-security prison has resources and facilities better suited for dealing with violent inmates.

“This is the first time I have had to do that in my six years as sheriff,” Robinson said.

District Attorney Keith Fagundes said Reyes has been charged with attempted murder for the August 2016 incident, which is just one in a long list of crimes Reyes has allegedly committed while incarcerated.

Fagundes said Reyes already pleaded no contest to a 2014 assault charge. He has also been charged for assaulting a custodial officer in August 2015, and five incidents of possessing alcohol or drugs in jail between 2014 and 2015.

“Given that history, he’s just a menace to the jail,” Fagundes said.

Rose Marie Acajabon, who drove the getaway vehicle and reportedly stayed with Reyes for more than a week after the shooting, was found guilty of second-degree murder in May 2013. Acajabon is currently housed at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla where she is serving a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or meiman@HanfordSentinel.com.

 

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