A Dodge City man accused of first degree murder and child abuse will be arraigned on both charges April 4.
A Dodge City man accused of first degree murder and child abuse will be arraigned on both charges April 4. Jonathan Villa-Ramirez, 24, has been held without bond since this summer on charges related to the death of his son, 10-month-old Brandon Villa. During the arraignment hearing, Villa-Ramirez will be given a chance to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Villa-Ramirez was arrested July 25 in Texas County, Okla. by the Texas County Sheriff's Department on a warrant for child abuse issued by the Dodge City Police Department (DCPD). Prior to the arrest, Villa-Ramirez's son was taken to Western Plains Medical Complex July 22 with critical injuries and later airlifted to Wesley Hospital in Wichita. The charges against Villa-Ramirez escalated to murder July 26 when the DCPD was notified of Brandon's death. A contested preliminary hearing for the case was held Feb. 5 during which expert witnesses testified that the infant "showed classic symptoms of shaken baby syndrome." During the same hearing, it came to light that Villa-Ramirez's wife Lizette, who was scheduled to testify, had left the county just days before her expected court appearance. In order to assure her presence at any further hearings, the Ford County Attorney's Office has issued a material witness warrant for her arrest. Court records identify Lizette's testimony as "necessary in the case." While her location is unknown, according to court documents, if arrested the court will require Lizette be held until a possible jury trial is scheduled for her husband or until she appears in court. The State also requested that she post and appearance bond of at least $100,000 to secure her presence at the hearings if she is released. Follow Abigail on Twitter, @Abigail_dcglobe.