Grieving husband doesn’t want death penalty for wife’s killer
By Wendella Davidson
March 23, 2007
GRIEF-FILLED Guyanese-born Leonard Ramen, 25, does not want his wife’s accused murderer to receive the death penalty.
“He hurt my wife, my Princess; he put her through a lot of pain and suffering; he also put me through a lot and I don’t want him to get the death penalty. I want him to suffer in jail for the rest of his life and I hope he gets no visitation at all -- no family members, no friends, nothing. I want him to suffer in there…” he told the Guyana Chronicle yesterday.
His wife, Natasha Ramen, an attractive 20-year-old, was murdered, her throat slit, on March 15 last outside their Queens, New York apartment, just five days after the young couple had returned from a 10-day vacation in Guyana which they spent at her parents’ home on the East Bank Demerara.
She left home in Queens around 08:00h last week Thursday. New York newspaper reports said the killer came from behind, encircling her with a bear hug. She managed two terrified shrieks before her neck was forced back and a knife plunged in her throat, then drawn across, slitting it. The killer then fled.
Natasha was found shortly after bleeding by the couple’s landlady and rushed to Mary Immaculate Hospital where she held on to life for 14 hours. She succumbed at 23:15h. The vacation in Guyana was the first for the couple.
Leonard, formerly of Albion, Corentyne, migrated to the U.S. with his parents at age 17. Natasha left for the U.S. when she was 15. She moved in with an aunt when she arrived in New York.
Like Natasha’s family members, Leonard feels the U.S. justice system failed the couple, in that it initially allowed the accused killer (Hemant Megnath, also a Guyanese-born) to post bail for a very `heinous’ crime, rape, and this ultimately resulted in his wife being murdered.
Megnath, 29, charged with raping Natasha in 2005, has been charged with killing her.
But Leonard says in some aspects the Police did a good job.
“I just feel that (the justice system) failed me in a way, but in the majority aspect of it they did a pretty good job… they found the guy pretty fast (after the murder); I couldn’t make any complaint about it and any complaint we made they generally did forward planning.”
“My worry was the bail system; the bail was set too low. I don’t know what the heck was going through their heads when they decided to set the bail for him (Megnath). I mean anybody in America with a minimum job can come up with that money within a month time, that’s nothing you know,” he added.
Reports out of New York varied on the amount of bail which was set after he was charged with raping Natasha, some reports saying it was US$10,000 and others US$5,000.
According to Leonard, “you can get that kind of money from all your friends just to get you out of jail. I don’t know for something so serious why would you post bail for that little money and after the first time after you find that you post bail, and you find you are violating your order of protection, why should you be given a chance to even post bail in the first place? I can’t understand that.”
Megnath’s initial bail, according to Leonard, was set when he was accused of raping Natasha and again when he was arrested, after admitting on tape to the Brooklyn Police Department of committing the crime.
The rape occurred in May 2005 while Natasha was searching for an apartment. New York newspapers said she was introduced to Megnath through an acquaintance.
Leonard claimed that after the rape charge, Megnath harassed his parents, “specifically my dad at nights, and in the wee of the morning, about one and two o’clock. He would threaten to kill me and my family because of what we are doing to him.”
“All I knew of him was his name. My wife didn’t even want to talk too much about him; she kind of wanted to focus about what was happening to us at the time, and I figure she did not want to put that additional stress and burden of dealing with what happened (the rape) and me having to watch my back, so she just kept it to herself. She was nevertheless hurting inside.
“She just kept me informed mostly on the court dates, the hearing and things of that and how the case is going, but nothing much after that…just the simple routine things.
“I was, however, aware that my wife was very, very fearful of him… the way she talked about it (the incident), she would break down and cry, and that was one of the reasons I never asked her too much about what was going on. I left it up to her to tell me … I could feel the pain in her whenever she spoke. It was too painful for her, so I basically acted as her support, comforted her throughout the time and allow time to heal the pain in her.”
Natasha’s mother yesterday could barely overcome the grief as she spoke fondly of her eldest daughter.
“She was my best child; she was very ambitious; she knew what she wanted and loved her husband dearly. It hurts as a mother that I was not there at her side when she was suffering… this is hard, I don’t know how I will live this down,” she said, unable to hold back the tears that streamed down her cheeks.
The woman also spoke nicely of her son-in-law. “He was very nice and kind to my daughter and they both loved each other dearly.”
Natasha’s maternal grandmother, a U.S. citizen who has been living overseas for the past 11 years, and is one of the 10 family members who accompanied Natasha’s body home for burial, spoke highly of her granddaughter
“I feel very, very hurt and sad. She was quite a loving child and doesn’t deserve to die in this cruel way. If I have any problem it was she I used to call,” said the mother of nine, five of whom live overseas and the remaining four in Guyana.
“I have children and other grandchildren over there; but it is Dolly (Natasha) who would go with me to the doctor, make enquires from the lawyer or any other business, buy my medicine. Dolly was there, I don’t know how I will make out without her.”
Of her grand-son-in-law, the woman said he was the most loving husband Natasha could have asked for. He was very quiet, she added.
Natasha Ramen will be buried today following a service and viewing at her parents’ East Bank Demerara residence.