san jose kidnapping

Suspects Plead No Contest in San Jose Kidnapping Case

NBC Universal, Inc.

Suspects in the San Jose kidnapping of baby Brandon pleaded no contest on Tuesday, putting a resolution to a case that gained national attention in April.

The no-contest plea followed two long days in court where prosecutors laid out strong evidence and witness testimony against the two suspects, Yesenia Ramirez and Jose Portillo.

Ramirez now faces up to 14 years in prison, and her boyfriend, Portillo, could get up to five years. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 28.

Testimony during Tuesday's preliminary hearing revealed that before the kidnapping, Ramirez twice asked to take baby Brandon out shopping. The second time, police allege, Ramirez did not return the baby until the next morning.

"Given all of the circumstances, it was the perfect storm for them to accept the offer," said Cody Salfen, an attorney representing Ramirez. "It was a reasonable offer from the judge in the eyes of my client."

Brandon's mother, Jessica, also took the stand Tuesday and said she is not angry and has already forgiven the suspects. But the mother said she is afraid the suspects will get out of jail and do something worse.

When asked to identify the suspect, Jessica looked right at Ramirez.

Prosecutors allege Ramirez or Portillo may have placed a tracking device on baby Brandon's family car. Jessica also testified that her car brakes may have been tampered with at some point.

As for a motive in the case, testimony indicates Ramirez allegedly told another boyfriend she had given birth to his child, and she kidnapped Brandon because he demanded she show him the baby.

The lead investigator testified that the third man, Francisco Marquez, firmly believed baby Brandon was his. He called police the day after the kidnapping to ask why they arrested his child's mother.

"Our belief is that she was going to kidnap Brandon Doe to raise him, essentially as her own, to kidnap him permanently and keep him from his family," prosecutor Rebekah Wise said.

Prosecutors said because the couple pleaded guilty to all counts, the judge can set the sentencing parameters, which they objected to.

"These individuals were attempting to kidnap Brandon Doe and also cause some kind of harm to his family," Wise said. "There should have been an opportunity to have a sentencing hearing where they could have been sentenced up to the maximum."

Suspects in the baby Brandon kidnapping in San Jose have elected to plea "guilty as charged" after a preliminary hearing held Tuesday. Damian Trujillo reports.
Contact Us