A Florida teen has pleaded guilty to murdering his own mother and burying her body in a shallow grave beneath a church fire pit. Gregory Ramos, now 17, was only 15 when he called 911 claiming his house had been robbed and that his mother, 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger, was missing. However, the truth of the horrific crime soon unraveled as police began to investigate.
- Gregory’s story changed pretty quickly. While he initially claimed that he found the house ransacked and his mother missing when he returned from school, another conversation with police saw his story change to something entirely different.
- He came out and admitted he killed her. Gregory eventually admitted to police that he and his mother had a fight over a “D-grade” he’d received at school and that during the argument, he strangled her for 30 minutes until she died.
- He claimed it was a “preemptive strike.” Gregory told authorities that he felt vindicated in killing his mother as he believed that if he didn’t, one day she would kill him. In that sense, he believed he was protecting himself. However, investigators found zero evidence of an abusive relationship between the mother and son.
- Gregory had two friends help him bury the body. After he murdered his mother, he called upon two friends to move Gail’s body and bury it underneath a church firepit. Those two friends have since been charged as adults with being accessories after the fact to a capital felony. Both have pleaded not guilty. “To watch how cold and callous and calculating he was, I think was probably the most shocking thing for all of us. No sign of remorse whatsoever,” said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
- Prior to the murder, Gregory had been studying criminal justice. He worked with the Orange County Police Department as a police explorer, a program that saw young people work with the force on a voluntary basis. He told deputies during questioning that he was studying criminal justice and crime scene investigation and hoped he could become a homicide detective when he got older. While that’s definitely not happening now, his attorney, Matthew Phillips, claimed that Gregory is remorseful for what he’s done and has been working to better himself behind bars, WKMG-TV reports.
- Gregory now faces 45 years behind bars. Gregory will be sentenced in January 2021 and may be given 45 years in prison for first-degree murder. Because he was a minor when he killed his mother, the case could be reviewed after 25 years.