New details emerge in unsolved St. Rose murder

Family plans vigil to call attention to case

For nearly two years, Lamar and Ruthell Ellis have mourned the loss of their son, Ramal, who was murdered in late 2013 less than a quarter mile away from his home, at the young age of 23.

Both say they will never find true closure. They still, however, seek justice.

At 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, the Ellis’ will lead a march and prayer vigil, both in memory of Ramal and with the intention of bringing more attention upon a murder case that is, to date, still unsolved.

The march will begin at Mt. Zion Church in St. Rose and will proceed to the graveyard before returning to the church. The vigil will be held at Fifth African Baptist Church, which Ramal was a member of. The church was the site where Ramal was killed.

“We’re trying to bring some attention to it,” Ruthell said. “It’s also a way our community as a whole to unite, pray together and promote a sense of peace. But my son was murdered. It’s been two years, now. We’d like to see whoever was responsible for it brought to justice.”

Ramal was a well-known athlete at Destrehan who competed in football, basketball and track and field. Before his death, he was just weeks away from graduating from Delgado with an associate’s degree. Before that, he attended Southern University. He worked at Home Depot, and he was considered a leader within the Fifth African Baptist Church worship community.

His body was discovered behind the church Nov. 17 of 2013. He had been shot multiple times.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Patrick Yoes said the motive for the murder appeared to be robbery and that Ellis’ wallet was missing upon his discovery.

“Recently detectives received information that the assailant demanded items from Ellis, and when he refused to give up the items, he was shot to death,” Yoes said. “The suspect was said to be a male subject from Kenner.”

Yoes said that the investigation is still ongoing.

As hard as it would ever be to rationalize the loss of a life, Lamar said it was even more difficult in the case of his son, who Ruthell called, “a 23-year-old boy, because he was still very much a boy in who he was.”

“He was my life,” Lamar said. “I don’t understand it.

If they were out to rob him, he had nothing to give them. He always had a beautiful smile on his face. He wanted to help people, to help everyone. He loved to go to church and he always did right by his momma and daddy.

“The police told me they spoke to hundreds of people about him and that nobody had a single bad thing to say about Ramal. That’s who he was.”

Added Ruthell, “I couldn’t believe it. There was no reason for anyone to kill him, not my child. I didn’t believe it was him. Unfortunately, it was true.”

It was his personality that made Ramal very popular in his community. Destrehan football gave him a spotlight. When starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson went down with a broken wrist in 2006, Ramal stepped in for him and kept the Wildcats on track and into the postseason.

Ramal’s first action of that season came in a victory over John Ehret on the night Jefferson was injured; Ramal stepped in and led his team to the win after playing the previous night in JV action.

It may be impossible for a parent to ever fully cope with the loss of a child, a thought Lamar echoed.

“We’re not (getting over it),” he said. “We talk about it every night. We cry together because we miss Ramal so much.”

Were those responsible discovered, each said, it could never make things okay, but it would help the healing process.

“Right now, I have a sense of peace, but then I don’t have peace … I thought by now we would have seen a conviction and someone in jail,” Ruthell said. “It just hasn’t happened. It would make me feel better to know whoever did it was punished.”

Lamar quoted Bible scripture, “‘Let not my heart be troubled.’ There are people out there who may know what happened to my boy. And whenever they see a reminder of it, I know it must weigh on them.”

Ruthell said she asks everyone first and foremost for prayer. For the vigil itself, anyone seeking to help could do so with donations of candles and bottled water. To do so, contact Lamar Ellis at (504) 600-1236.

Anyone with information regarding Ellis’ murder is asked to contact Det. Jeremy Pitchford at (985) 783-1135 or (985) 783-6807.

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