Fittest loser
Article updated: 7/30/2013 3:11 PM

Ex-Harper wrestler guilty of trespass for entering cop's home

Kerin Ramirez

Kerin Ramirez

 
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A former Harper College wrestler who was shot after he drunkenly wandered into a police officer's house was acquitted of home invasion Tuesday and found guilty of a lesser felony.

Kerin Ramirez, 21, was convicted of criminal trespass to a residence after a bench trial in front of DuPage County Judge George Bakalis.

Bakalis based the verdict on evidence presented at the Addison man's earlier trial, which ended in a hung jury.

Defense attorney Gal Pissetzky said the ruling means his client faces a significantly lesser prison term of one to three years and is eligible for time served in the county jail.

Ramirez, who spent more than 18 months behind bars awaiting trial, could have faced six to 30 years if convicted of home invasion.

Pissetzky said he would seek a term of time served when Ramirez goes before Bakalis for sentencing in September. Even if he receives a maximum three years, Ramirez could be eligible for immediate parole because he has already served at least half the term in jail.

"We are very hopeful. Obviously, everything is still in the hands of the judge," Pissetzky said, adding Bakalis "already made the right decision" with the verdict.

Pissetzky said Ramirez, who was freed on bond in May, wants to return in the fall to the Palatine community college where he was a standout wrestler before his arrest.

Ramirez also is working a full-time job in the financial services industry, he said.

"He's a fully productive member of society," Pissetzky said.

The state's attorney's office declined to comment.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict in April when Ramirez first stood trial for entering the Carol Stream-area home of veteran Wood Dale police Sgt. Michael Peters in September 2011.

Peters testified he shot Ramirez in the abdomen after the unarmed wrestler walked into his home during the early morning hours, attacked him and engaged him in a lengthy fight.

Ramirez contended he was almost immediately met by gunfire after he drunkenly wandered into the wrong house while trying to return to a party a few doors away on the same street.

On the advice of his attorney, Ramirez declined to comment Tuesday outside of court. His case sparked a demonstration by supporters last year outside the courthouse in Wheaton.

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