A woman who allegedly plotted to kill her mother in Long Beach pleaded not guilty today to attempted murder and other charges, along with her husband and the accused henchman.
Holly Ramos, 41, her 40-year-old husband, Frank Haverly, and Keith Phillips, 50, are each charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a crime and home invasion robbery in the attack on Elizabeth Wells, who was repeatedly bludgeoned in the head with a baseball bat.
The criminal complaint alleges that Phillips tried to suffocate and strangle the 62-year-old woman and stole her purse and legal documents related to a fraud complaint she had made against her daughter in September.
Phillips, of Monterey County, is also charged with one count of first- degree burglary, along with allegations that he personally used a baseball bat and inflicted great bodily injury.
Ramos is additionally facing two counts of forgery and one count each of identity theft, second-degree commercial burglary and grand theft of labor. The complaint alleges that she cashed a $10,000 cashier's check made in her name from a bank account into which she had been depositing forged checks from a bank account belonging to her mother.
Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell said last month that officers who responded to a report of a person screaming on Oct. 11 near 69th Place and Ocean Boulevard found the severely beaten woman.
Detectives initially thought the case may have involved a random home invasion robbery, but uncovered evidence of the murder plot allegedly directed by the woman's daughter and son-in-law, the chief said.
The detectives learned that Ramos had been arrested in Monterey County on child endangerment and narcotics-related charges, and her two children, ages 2 and 4, were placed in foster care, according to police.
She was allegedly upset that her mother applied for foster parent status with the Monterey County Department of Children and Family Services and allegedly planned the crime with her husband and hired Phillips to go to Long Beach to carry it out.
Phillips drove to Long Beach on Oct. 11 and impersonated a DCFS employee from Monterey County in order to gain access to the woman's home, police allege. Detectives said the two spent a considerable amount of time discussing the foster care placement process before Phillips allegedly attacked the woman.
The woman suspected her family members were involved and helped detectives gather evidence, according to McDonnell.
DNA analysis was used to link Phillips to the attack, according to police, who said detectives obtained corroborating evidence that Ramos and her husband were associates of Phillips.
The three -- who were arrested Nov. 14 -- remain jailed in lieu of $50 million bail while awaiting their next court appearance in Long Beach next Wednesday.
-- City News Service