15-year-old accused of killing his mother in DeBary is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, the state attorney for Volusia County announced Thursday.
Gregory Ramos is accused of strangling his mother, 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger, then calling two friends to help him bury her body and stage a robbery at his house. A grand jury indicted him Thursday, State Attorney R.J. Larizza said.
“I’m surprised, I’m shocked, I’m bewildered by the fact that we’re in a position to have to prosecute a 15-year-old for murdering his mother,” Larizza said. “That’s a sad day, and it’s a sad announcement I’m making, and I take no pleasure in the fact that the state attorney’s office will be prosecuting the 15-year-old for the murder of his mother as an adult.”
Ramos’ two 17-year-old friends, Dylan Ceglarek and Brian Porras, are charged as adults with being accessories to a capital felony after the fact. If convicted, they could face up to 30 years in prison.
If Ramos is convicted of first-degree murder he could face up to life in prison, Larizza said. He would be eligible for parole, unlike most adults in Florida who are convicted of the same crime.
“Ramos showed an extreme indifference to human life, and in his own words he said it took 30 minutes to kill his mother,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “So I fully support what the state attorney is doing here. I don’t think there’s any real other outcome to this.”
After hours of questioning, Gregory confessed to deputies that he strangled his mother Nov. 1 after a fight over getting a D in school, Chitwood said after the crime. He told them it took about half an hour, Chitwood said.
He then brought Cleavenger’s body to the family’s car and drove to Holly Hill. Then he asked his two friends, Brian and Dylan, to help him get rid of her body, Chitwood said. They staged a robbery, taking some electronics from Gregory’s home, and buried Cleavenger under a fire pit near a church, Chitwood said.
The next morning Gregory went to school, Chitwood said. He talked to his step-father, who was out of town, like nothing was wrong, Chitwood said.
Then he left school a few hours early, went home, and called 911 to say his home was burglarized and his mother was missing.
“I don’t think we’re talking about a typical 15-year-old kid. He made sure to tell us he was highly intelligent over and over and over again,” Chitwood said. “I hate to say this, but you’re gonna act like a big boy? Now you’re gonna get treated like a big boy.”