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Anchor Bar suspect sentenced for strangling woman into unconsciousness

Gregory Ramos was sentenced in State Supreme Court Wednesday for a domestic violence conviction.

But he has more court appearances ahead of him.

He already was convicted in federal court on drug and firearms charges. And he faces a murder charge in Erie County Court.

Ramos, 25, is accused of being the driver for the gunman in the fatal shooting last May of an employee in the Anchor Bar.

Later that night, Ramos reportedly received a phone call about the shooting from the mother of his children, went to the woman’s home and attacked her.

Ramos pleaded guilty on March 28 to second degree strangulation for the felony assault, but on Wednesday afternoon, he arrived in court with a sheaf of paperwork and the intention of withdrawing his guilty plea.

Ramos suddenly developed reservations about waiving his right to appeal his guilty plea, although he had signed the waiver a month earlier, according to his attorney, Joseph Terranova.

Justice Deborah Haendiges listened to Terranova’s presentation and allowed Ramos to ask for a motion to deny his plea. Then she denied it.

“I was completely satisfied that Mr. Ramos knew exactly what he was doing” when he signed the waiver, the judge said, “and I’m not hearing anything right now that would allow the court to withdraw his plea. If I had felt that he was being rushed into that decision, I would not have allowed it to go forward.”

Ramos, who also has been making vigorous objections to proceedings in his murder case before another judge, tried to tell Haendiges that he contested the sentencing. She silenced him.

“Mr. Ramos, you are not a stranger to this courtroom. You’ve been here before and were given another chance. You violated your probation. On the night of a restaurant shooting she called you, and you went to her home, you dragged her out of her house and you strangled her into unconsciousness in front of other people,” Haendiges said.

When those neighbors intervened, Ramos fled and the revived victim called 911, the judge said. That call eventually led to a high speed police chase two days later when Ramos’ vehicle was spotted in Niagara Falls. The drugs and weapons recovered during that chase led to the federal conviction.

Haendiges also told Ramos she was deeply worried about the safety of the mother of his children before she sentenced him to four years in prison and three years post-release supervision.

She also said that, although she has no control in the federal court proceedings, it is her hope that his sentence there will be consecutive to the one she ordered. A federal jury found Ramos guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a person with a domestic violence order of protection.

There is a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison on those charges, with sentencing scheduled for July 11.

Haendiges also issued an order, which Ramos refused to sign, that he have no contact with his victim before the year 2028.

Ramos and his co-defendant, Jorge Suarez, 26, are scheduled to return before Judge Thomas P. Franczyk on June 2 for pretrial conferences in the Anchor Bar case. Suarez is accused of gunning down kitchen worker Freddie Dizon, 32, in a hallway. The restaurant was packed with dinner customers at the time. Investigators believe the shooting was prompted by a private dispute between the men and did not involve Dizon’s workplace.

Ramos is accused of driving Suarez to and from the scene of the shooting.

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