‘Baby Brandon’ Kidnappers get sentenced in San Jose
The two people convicted of kidnapping a 3-month-old baby boy in San Jose last year were formally sentenced to prison Monday.
Yesenia Ramirez, the woman who prosecutors deemed the “mastermind” of the kidnapping last April, was sentenced 13 years and four months in prison.
Brandon Cueller’s mother, Jessica, was not at the courthouse when the sentence was handed down, but she submitted a letter asking the judge for the maximum punishment.
Reading in part, “I understand people deserve a second chance, but my children and I deserve to live in peace.”
Ramirez has been described as the ringleader – who ordered one of her boyfriends, Jose Portillo, to take baby Brandon from a family apartment while she distracted the boy’s grandmother.
Prosecutors argued for the maximum sentence, saying Ramirez tried four times to kidnap the baby over a 2-month period before finally committing the crime.
They claim she had even cut the brake lines in Brandon’s mother’s car.
Jessica wrote in a letter to the judge that she still lives in fear that Ramirez will retaliate against her when she’s released.
Writing, “as a mother I want peace of mind and want my children to be safe at school and at home.”
“In any situation where a child is the victim of a crime, it’s hard to say anything feels like justice if that makes sense,” said Rebekah Wise, deputy district attorney at Santa Clara County. “Because no matter what we do here in court, the crime occurred. The family is still having the same emotional turmoil.”
Ramirez’s attorney, Cody Salfen says he’s worked on thousands of cases but called this one of the most complex he’s ever been a part of.
As he pleaded for leniency for Ramirez Monday, he described her as a broken person, and a victim who had suffered a lifetime of abuse.
“She’s not someone who is beyond repair. She’s damaged, like I pointed out. She needs to be fixed and can be fixed. She doesn’t lack empathy, she doesn’t lack remorse,” said Salfen.
Ramirez also addressed the court before she was sentenced, often crying, as she spoke for nearly 40 minutes.
Taking responsibility for the crime, and asking for forgiveness from the people she victimized.
In the end – the judge says there was simply too much evidence of premeditation.
Portillo pleaded no contest as well.
The DA agreed he was not the one in charge but said he was heavily involved. He will spend five years in prison.