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Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 01/28/2013

Manassas man accused of drowning infant son appears in court, documents released

A Manassas man accused of drowning his 15-month-old son made “inconsistent statements” to investigators that helped lead to his arrest, according to a document released Monday by a Prince William County court.

Further, the document details the total amount of life insurance Rams took out before his son’s death.


This photo released by The Manassas City Police Department shows Joaquin Shadow Rams, 40, who has been charged with murdering his 15-month-old son after medical examiners determined that the boy drowned. (AP)
Joaquin S. Rams, 40, also appeared briefly before a Prince William Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge Monday to formally hear the first-degree murder charge against him. Authorities allege that Rams killed his son, Prince McLeod Rams, on Oct. 20. Rams declared his innocence on a blog while the three-month investigation continued.

“I am a devoted father, and far from the horrible person I have been made out to be in the media,” Rams said in a Jan. 8 post to his blog.

Rams, whose hair was pulled back in a pony tail and his hands and feet were shackled, appeared by video from the Prince William Adult Detention Center.

He said he had no questions for Judge Paul F. Gluchowski. He also said he did not need a court-appointed lawyer and had hired Timothy M. Olmstead, a former Prince William prosecutor and now an area criminal defense attorney, to represent him. A preliminary hearing was set for March 6. Olmstead declined to comment after the hearing.

Rams told investigators, according to the complaint, that he put his son into an ice bath after he began having a seizure. However, the report says a medical examiner found that no seizure had occurred.

A hospital report from that October night notes that Prince had a history of seizures. It also said that Prince suffered “obvious and unexplainable injuries,” including bruises above his left eye and blood in his nose. Prince had arrived at the hospital naked and wet, the report said.

Hera McLeod, Prince’s mother who fought to keep her one-time boyfriend from having unsupervised visits, has said she was told an autopsy revealed that Prince’s lungs and other organs were saturated with water.

Rams had also taken out more than $560,000 in total life insurance against Prince, according to the complaint.

Prince had been the subject of an ongoing custody dispute. McLeod, of Gaithersburg, had asked a Montgomery County court to bar Rams from having unsupervised visits with his son.

The boy died during his second unsupervised visit, according to the complaint.

During the court fight over custody and visitation, officials testified about Rams’s possible involvement in two other mysterious deaths. A Manassas police detective testified that Rams remained a suspect in the unsolved 2003 shooting death of a former girlfriend, Shawn Katrina Mason. Rams had an opportunity and motive to commit the crime, the detective testified. A Prince William social worker noted in a report that Rams mistakenly thought he was the beneficiary of Mason’s life insurance policy.

Police are also re-examining the apparent 2008 suicide of Rams’s mother.

By  |  11:55 AM ET, 01/28/2013

 
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