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Mayor: City is safe

Man charged with murders

September 8, 2012
By ARTHUR?CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

AMSTERDAM-An Amsterdam Man will appear in court Monday morning to be arraigned on two counts of first-degree murder.

Amsterdam police Detective Lt. Kurt Conroy Friday said Ivan Ramos, 30, of 222 Woodrow Road, was charged in the slayings of William McDermott, 56, and Cheryl Goss, 46.

Conroy declined to talk about any motive or a connection between Ramos and McDermott and Goss. He said more details about the arrest will be made public at a news conference at 1 p.m. Monday at the Amsterdam Police Department.

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In addition to the murder counts, Ramos also faces two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Mayor Ann Thane said the city is grateful to the Amsterdam Police Department, the neighborhood watch and everyone who came forward with information.

"Obviously this was upsetting for everyone involved," Thane said.

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Thane said that she felt Amsterdam got characterized as a dangerous city, and that it wasn't fair.

"There is crime everywhere, in every community. But relatively? Amsterdam is a safe community," Thane said. "This was a heinous crime that occurred, but it was rare for us. It was so rare it got extreme attention towards us. Violence of this order happens in cities around us - in Schenectady and Albany and Troy - which is why we don't hear about it so much."

Montgomery County District Attorney James "Jed" Conboy, who presented the sealed indictment of Ramos, said Ramos will appear in Montgomery County Court on Monday morning to finish the arraignment.

Conboy declined to comment on a motive for the murders. A court date will be scheduled and disclosed Monday. Ramos could face up to life in prison, Conboy said.

Amsterdam police previously said McDermott and Goss were found stabbed to death March 2 in McDermott's apartment at 359 Locust Ave.

This summer, Conroy said the investigation had mainly hinged on several pieces of possible DNA evidence being analyzed by the state police crime lab. He previously said city police weren't sure if the motive was "drugs or money."

Amsterdam Police Chief Gregory Culick has said police thought the victims and the killer or killers knew each other. No weapon was found at the scene, but there were signs of a struggle.

A few days after the bodies were found, Ramos was charged with possession of property stolen from a yard in McDermott's neighborhood, police said. Though he was not then identified as a suspect in the murders, at the time police said he was interviewed as a potential witness. Police said he had stolen a sheet metal brake from the yard at 288 Locust Ave. in February. The yard is less than two blocks from the home of McDermott.

According to the state Department of Corrections website, Ramos has been incarcerated since August after pleading guilty to criminal possession of stolen property.

Previously, in late March, Ramos had been arrested and sent to the Montgomery County Jail in connection with a home invasion that happened in October 2011. In that case, he was charged with burglary and robbery, both felonies.

Local residents reacted to the crime in a variety of ways. Kaitlynn Smith, of 366 Locust Avenue, said she was relieved to here about the indictment.

"I've lived here my whole life," She said. "It's good that they caught him."

Jules Constantine, of Constantine Builders at 292 Locust Ave., said while she felt good about the indictment, even with the arrest, she didn't feel safe in the area.

"There's abandoned houses in the area, there's a lot of security issues," Constantine said. "I certainly wouldn't go out and walk by myself. If I had children, I wouldn't let them go out and play by themselves. There is definitely a lot of crime in the area."



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