A Dodge City man accused of murder and child abuse pleaded not guilty to the charges against him Thursday in district court.
Jonathan Villa-Ramirez, 24, has been held without bond since last summer on charges related to the death of his son, 10-month-old Brandon Villa.
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 Medical Center 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."
A trial will be set at a later date.
Immediately following his arraignment hearing, Villa-Ramirez was sentenced to 32 months in prison for a separate round of crimes, Including committing a robbery in the drive-thru lane at the Dodge City Burger King. Assistant Ford County Attorney David Belling said Villa-Ramirez stole $100 during the robbery. A charge of theft was also filed for the incident, which took place in March 2011. Villa-Ramirez’s was charged with an additional charge for attempted robbery outside of a Dodge City bank.