Orange County District Attorney, Press Release
For Immediate Release: June 13, 2013
SANTA ANA –The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation denied parole for five years today for a man convicted of beating and murdering an infant child in 1994. Celerino Ochoa, 36, formerly of Santa Ana, is currently being held at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. Ochoa was sentenced Jan. 19, 1996, to 15 years to life in state prison after he was found guilty by jury of second degree murder. The case was originally prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney David Brent. Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Odwald appeared at today’s hearing to oppose Ochoa’s parole.
At today’s hearing, Ochoa admitted before the Board that he accepts responsibility for abusing and murdering his girlfriend’s baby after previously denying his involvement in the murder. The Board determined that Ochoa is only beginning to gain insight into the severity of the crime he committed and will have to spend a lengthy process undergoing rehabilitation. Ochoa will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2018.
Murder of Infant Carina Ramirez
Prior to October 1994, then-18-year-old Ochoa was living with his 22-year-old girlfriend and her 18-month-old daughter, Carina Ramirez. On the morning of Oct. 14, 1994, Ochoa became enraged and began beating the infant, grabbing her by the hair and slamming her against the wall. Police arrived at the scene at approximately 12:00 p.m., where paramedics were already trying to save the child.
Ramirez was pronounced dead the following morning at Fountain Valley Regional Medical Center. The autopsy determined the infant’s cause of death to be brain swelling due to hemorrhaging caused by blunt force trauma consistent with being dropped or thrown against a wall. The Coroner’s report stated that infant Ramirez displayed evidence of inflicted trauma, including fresh bruises on her face and left thigh, lacerations on her upper lip, older bruises on her face and along the baby’s hairline and forehead, and bite marks on the infant’s chest and back.
Lack of Insight, Rehabilitation and Threat to Public Safety
Prior to his last parole hearing in July 2010, Ochoa was under review for a prison rules violation for disobeying regulations regarding inmate canteen ducats. Four days after his parole hearing before the Board, he was found guilty of this offense.
During his incarceration, Ochoa has participated in self-help meetings but still refuses to accept full responsibility for the murder of a helpless infant, stating that he was simply unable to control his anger.
Ochoa lacks insight into the murder of the infant, and his recent prison rules violation shows that he is unable to follow rules in a controlled environment and, therefore, will not be released into society.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff