Police arrested and charged a Manassas man Friday with drowning his 1-year-old son, authorities say.
Joaquin S. Rams, 40, of the 9000 block of Landgreen Street in Manassas was charged with the first-degree murder in the Oct. 20 drowning of 15-month-old infant Prince McLeod Rams, police say. Under Virginia law, the charge could later be elevated to capital murder – meaning a death sentence or life in prison.
Joaquin Rams had taken out multiple life insurance policies on his son, said Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert (D). The amount of life insurance was “unusually high,” according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.
“He’s charged with a premeditated murder,” Ebert said. Rams’s family court lawyer could not immediately be reached.
A Prince William Hospital report notes “obvious unexplainable injuries” — bruising above the infant’s left eye and blood in his nose — and says that medical staff contacted Child Protective Services. The report says Prince was naked and wet from a bath when he arrived at the hospital.
It also said that Prince had a history of seizures.
Hera McLeod, 32, Prince’s mother, said she fought to have sole custody of Prince in a Montgomery County family court in March. She lost that battle and writes on her blog, Cappuccino Queen, that she has been fighting for justice for her son ever since.
The Booz Allen employee and former “Amazing Race”show contestant said in an interview Friday that while the murder charge did not come as a surprise, she was relieved.
“I have known since the day I saw my son in the hospital,” McLeod said. “At this point Joaquin’s the state’s problem. That feels good to know. For this long, I’ve been trying to get people to understand what I already knew.”
McLeod said she met Rams online and they later met in person in 2010. She said it took a long time for her to untangle what she called his lies and deception.
Two other people close to Rams have died mysteriously in recent years. His mother’s death was ruled a suicide in 2008 in Prince William, police said, and Rams is also considered “an element” of an investigation into the 2003 slaying of Rams’s ex-girlfriend, Shawn Mason, with whom he’d had a child, said Manassas police Sgt. Lowell Nevill.
Nevill declined to say, however, whether Rams is considered a suspect in either case.
Joaquin Rams started a blog, King Latte, the tagline of which is “rumors and lies are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots.”
The blog criticizes media reports and McLeod for spreading misinformation about him.
“I am a devoted father, and far from the horrible person I have been made out to be in the media,” he writes. “The memories of [Prince] calling me ‘dada’ will be forever locked in my mind. I also know that the last image my beloved son had in his eyes was the image of his father and brother lovingly looking down at him as he went to sleep for the last time.”
The murder charge brings into question a March decision by a Montgomery County court to allow Rams unsupervised visitation with his son. Prince died after an initial unsupervised visit with his father.
Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Algeo also heard testimony about Rams’s possible involvement in the other deaths, according to court testimony.
But those allegations, he said, were never substantiated. “I was a prosecutor for 11 years. I know one thing: If there’s evidence, you charge it and you prosecute it,” Algeo said, according to a court transcript. “This young fellow deserves more. He deserves two involved, loving parents.”
This post has been updated since it was first published.