Rancho Bernardo

2 Men Plead Not Guilty in Rancho Bernardo Student's Death

The 16-year-old was found dead on March 7, 2019

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Two people charged for the death of a 16-year-old boy found dead in the middle of the street near a Rancho Bernardo shopping center in 2019, have pleaded not guilty.

Angel Ramirez, 19, was taken into custody on Wednesday. NBC 7 learned Friday that 20-year-old Joshua Benjamin was also arrested in connection to the teen’s death.

This comes roughly 10 months later after the 16-year-old Rancho Bernardo student, who has been identified as Christian, was found unconscious about 500 feet away from the Pomerado Village Shopping Center.

At first, San Diego Police thought the teen's death was the result of a traffic crash, though officers mentioned there weren’t skid marks on the street or anything else that would indicate he was hit by a car on March 7, 2019.

The District Attorney revealed in court that Christian was killed in a robbery gone wrong. They said it all started when Christian agreed to meet up with Ramirez and Benjamin to buy drugs.

“Christian hung on to the car in an attempt to get his narcotics or money back and the defendant Ramirez punched Christian in the face and tried to pry his hands off the car, then Christian fell to the ground and the vehicle ran over his head, killing him,” Christina Eastman, Deputy District Attorney said.

NBC 7 learned that the two men have a criminal past. Ramirez was on supervised release as he was pending a felony case. The Deputy DA said Ramirez had sliced his father with a knife and hit him with a baseball bat. As for Benjamin, he was pending a misdemeanor domestic violence case against his girlfriend.

The two men are charged with first-degree murder and robbery.

The judge set bail at $2 million dollars for Benjamin and Ramirez. They are each facing 25 years to life in prison.

Contact Us