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Calif. man pleads not guilty to murder, hate crime of bisexual co-worker

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
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MECCA, Calif. — A California man has pleaded not guilty in the murder of a bisexual co-worker who police say was gunned down outside his home because of his sexual orientation.

Miguel Angel Bautista Ramirez (left) is charged in the murder of Juan Ceballos (right).

Miguel Angel Bautista Ramirez (left) is charged in the murder of Juan Ceballos (right).

Miguel Angel Bautista Ramirez, 25, is charged in the July 13 murder of Juan Ceballos, 20, in Mecca, Calif. The two men worked at a local Pizza Hut.

Sergio Ceballos said his brother, the oldest of five siblings, was shot several times in his car outside their apartment while bringing dinner home to their family.

Along with murder, Ramirez faces hate crime and lying-in-wait allegations.

KESQ-TV reports that the criminal complaint against Ramirez says that he ā€œwaited for Juan outside his home and shot and killed him because of his sexual orientation.ā€

The complaint alleges Ramirez had a bias against gays, and that the killing was intentional and premeditated.

He is being held without bail in Riverside County jail in Indio; he is due back in court Aug. 11. The district attorney will decide later whether to seek the death penalty in the case.

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