CAMDEN, N.J. — “Amanda you stabbed me,” a stunned Anna Ramirez told her identical twin as blood seeped from her chest early Saturday morning outside their Camden home, according to a witness statement read in court Thursday.
She was pronounced dead less than an hour later and her twin sister was charged with killing her in the heat of an argument.
On Thursday, Amanda Ramirez, 27, was ordered held without bail on aggravated manslaughter charges after prosecutors told the judge she posed a flight risk.
Camden County Superior Court Judge Edward McBride Jr. said prosecutors had established “clear and convincing evidence” that Ramirez should be held in jail until her trial.
She faces a potential sentence of 10 to 30 years.
The fatal argument unfolded in the early morning hours of June 22 at the Centennial Village Apartments. The sisters had been drinking and got into a quarrel — over what was not disclosed.
A woman who witnessed the fight told investigators she saw Amanda Ramirez go inside, grab a knife and tell her sister, “Watch what I’m going to do.” The woman did not see the stabbing, according to a witness statement read aloud in court.
Authorities later found a knife with blood stains inside the apartment, Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Peter Gallagher said.
Ramirez’s public defender, Igor Levenberg, conceded that she had killed her twin. But he told the judge she had committed a reckless act, not a purposeful murder. He unsuccessfully sought to have Ramirez released on house arrest, noting that she had no felony convictions.
The judge conceded that a pre-trial assessment had concluded that Ramirez was unlikely to skip court, but he said he was unwilling to take that risk and ordered her to remain in jail.
After the ruling, family and friends who had gathered in the courtroom shouted, “Love you” to Ramirez.
“Keep your head up, sis,” one woman said.
Thursday’s court hearing did little to shed light on what drew the twins into a fatal argument.
Just hours before her death, Anna Ramirez had posted a photo on Facebook with her sister and others, looking relaxed with their arms around each other in dim lighting. She wrote, “You know the vibe” paired with emoji of sunglasses, fingers crossed and 100.
Not long afterward, police found her lying on the ground bleeding outside the apartment complex about 5:40 a.m., according to the affidavit of probable cause for her sister’s arrest.
Amanda Ramirez “appeared to have blood” on her clothing, authorities said, and they saw bloody footprints trailing from her sister’s body to the doorstep of the apartment.
When questioned by law enforcement officials, Ramirez initially denied any involvement in the crime. Later, she provided three conflicting accounts of the events leading up to her sister’s death before finally admitting that she had stabbed her.
Ramirez first told authorities she saw her sister on Westfield Avenue and took her home, where she later collapsed, bleeding.
She later told police during a recorded interview that she and her sister were “hanging out and drinking” with a friend at their cousin’s home, when her twin left in a taxi. She said she and the friend later returned to Centennial Village and found her sister sitting on the porch. She appeared ill, Ramirez said, and collapsed after getting up to get a cigarette and appeared to have a bloody chest.
In her third account of the hours leading up to her sister’s death, Ramirez said she, her sister and a friend arrived to Centennial Village together on the morning of June 22. She said her sister struck her in the face after they arrived home, bringing her to her knees. Ramirez told authorities her sister then grabbed a knife from inside the apartment and the two struggled for control of it before she stabbed her sister in the chest.
Anna Ramirez was pronounced dead around 6:20 a.m. at Cooper University Hospital. She worked as a certified nursing assistant and had three daughters, according to her obituary.
“She loved to spend time with her family and was a devoted mother,” the obituary said. “Anna had a special bond with her grandparents and enjoyed family dinners and weekly time hanging out with her sisters.”