DuPage judge allows evidence in Harper wrestler's home invasion trial
When Kerin Ramirez goes to trial for invading an off-duty police officer's home, a DuPage County jury will learn the former Harper College wrestler was drunk when he entered the house and was shot during the confrontation that followed.
Prosecutors had asked DuPage Judge George Bakalis to bar the defense from mentioning either detail during the trial. But Bakalis on Thursday denied the request.
"Now the jury can get the full picture of what happened," defense attorney Gal Pissetzky said after Thursday's hearing.
Ramirez, 20, of Addison, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of home invasion, burglary and aggravated battery. His trial is scheduled to begin April 16.
Family members have said Ramirez was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when he drunkenly wandered into the Wood Dale police officer's home about 7 a.m. Sept. 24, 2011.
The off-duty officer found Ramirez standing in a front hall inside his home near Wheaton, prosecutors have said.
Refusing to leave, Ramirez attacked the officer and fought with him for an "extended period of time" while the officer's wife called 911, authorities said.
Soon, a retired police officer who lived next door arrived. At that point, both police veterans fought with Ramirez for about 10 minutes, according to the allegations.
The Wood Dale officer eventually retrieved his duty gun and shot Ramirez in the stomach after the defendant knocked him to the ground.
All three men went to the hospital with injuries.
During Thursday's hearing, Bakalis rejected the prosecution's claim that mentioning Ramirez was shot would serve no purpose other than to generate sympathy for him with the jury.
In dealing with the issue of Ramirez's intoxication level, the judge said it can't be used as a defense.
Pissetzky said he plans to mention Ramirez was drunk so jurors can understand how Ramirez ended up inside the house.
The shooting happened about three hours after Ramirez left a drinking party several doors away. His supporters have argued Ramirez thought he was returning to the party when he mistakenly entered the officer's home.
"He's not the big bad wolf," Pissetzky said of his client.
Ramirez, who has no prior criminal record, is a graduate of Addison Trail High School. He was a second-year student and wrestler at Harper College in Palatine, where he was majoring in education.
Ramirez has been in the county jail in lieu of $300,000 bail since his arrest.
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