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Suspect in slaying of St. Lucie County woman decides against plea deal, wants trial

Sheila Hamner fatally stabbed in 2016
wptv-Carlos-Gilberto-Arellano-Ramirez.jpg
Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 21:51:14-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — There was frustration Wednesday for a Treasure Coast family seeking justice after a plea agreement for an accused killer fell apart at the last minute.

The suspect, Carlos Gilberto Arellano-Ramirez, was in a Fort Pierce courtroom where he was expected to plead no contest in the death of Sheila Hamner.

The 73-year-old retired school bookkeeper was fatally stabbed a number of times in 2016.

Sheila Hamner
Sheila Hamner

However, after being read the plea agreement, Arellano-Ramirez expressed confusion over what he had signed. He then said he wanted to go to trial.

Hamner’s family watched the proceedings in the courtroom.

Prosecutors said they would drop the plea arrangement and keep the possibility of the death penalty on the table.

Initially, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office had arrested Hamner’s son for the killing. Those charges were dropped two months later without explanation.