Florida teen, 17, pleads guilty to strangling his architect mother to death, then calling two friends to help bury the body and stage a robbery at their home after a fight over his D grade

 A Florida teenager this morning entered a guilty plea to charges of strangling his mother to death with his bare hands during an argument about his bad grades, and then disposing of her body in an attempt to cover up the murder. 

Gregory Ramos, now 17, agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder, abuse of a body and tampering with evidence on Wednesday in exchange for a 45-year prison sentence. 

Ramos was 15 when he was accused of strangling Gail Cleavenger, 46, in their home in DeBary on November 2, 2018. He buried her body behind a nearby church.

Ramos was charged as an adult and could have faced a life sentence, if convicted at trial.   


Gregory Ramos, 17, appears in court on Wednesday to pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the  2018 strangulation death of his mother

Gregory Ramos, 17, appears in court on Wednesday to pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the  2018 strangulation death of his mother 

Ramos agreed to the plea in exchange for a 45-year prison term. He is seen in court signing the agreement on Wednesday

Ramos agreed to the plea in exchange for a 45-year prison term. He is seen in court signing the agreement on Wednesday 

Ramos was just 15 years old in November 2015 when he strangled his mother, 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger, with his bare hands in her bed
The two had a fight over his bad grade

Ramos was just 15 years old in November 2015 when he strangled his mother, 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger (right), with his bare hands in her bed. The two had a fight over his bad grade


Ramos’ defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Matt Phillips, told The Daytona Beach News-Journal the agreement also calls for Ramos to be sentenced to lifetime probation, but he can seek early termination of that probation after 10 years.

But it will ultimately be up to a judge to decide.

'He is extremely remorseful and he regrets his actions everyday,' Phillips said. 'He is looking forward to having a release date and proving he can be a productive citizen.'

As a state prisoner, Ramos can get 15 per cent of his sentence reduced for good behavior by the Department of Corrections.

Ramos will be formally sentenced on January 22. 

Two of Ramos' friends, Dylan Ceglarek and Brian Porras, then aged 17, were also charged as adults with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. 

They weren't present when Ramos killed his mother but they were accused of helping Ramos in his attempt to cover up the crime, according to records and investigators.

Ramos called 911 and reported his mother as missing, but after hours of interrogation he confessed to the murder.  

The killing took place inside the family's home in DeBary, Florida (pictured) on November 2, 2018

The killing took place inside the family's home in DeBary, Florida (pictured) on November 2, 2018 

As Ramos would later tell police, it took him 30 minutes to kill his mother, who fought back

As Ramos would later tell police, it took him 30 minutes to kill his mother, who fought back

Dylan Ceglarek
Brian Porras

Ramos' friends Dylan Ceglarek (left) and Brian Porras (right) each face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of accessory after the fact to premeditated first-degree murder

Investigators said it took Ramos about 30 minutes to strangle his mother with his bare hands in her own bed after they fought about a D grade he had earned in school. 

He then put his mother's body in a wheelbarrow, pushed it outside and loaded it in the family van, records show.

Ramos asked his two friends to help stage a burglary at his home by taking a computer, rifle and Playstation, and to bury the victim's body under a fire pit near a church, investigators said. 

In his confession, Ramos boasted about placing a 'Grammy-winning' 911 call to report the burglary and his mother's disappearance. 

He said he used classes he took in criminal justice at University High School to try and give a flavor of truth to his lies. 

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood at the time described the schoolboy as 'soulless', 'cold' and 'callous,' said he showed no remorse, and is 'among the top three sociopaths I have ever encountered'. 

Chitwood said that Ramos tried to justify his actions as 'preemptive self-defense', and was convinced that 'he had to kill [Gail] before she killed him'.

He added that there was no evidence that Gail had been abusive toward her son.  

Ramos initially claimed his mother had gone missing, but he later made a confession and brought about what he had done

Ramos initially claimed his mother had gone missing, but he later made a confession and brought about what he had done 

Ramos had been a member of the Orange City Police Explorers and said he had hoped to become a homicide detective in the future.

Since he was a juvenile when arrested, he cannot be sentenced to mandatory life without any chance of release. Ramos would have faced at least 40 years in prison and up to life with a review of the sentence after serving 25 years if found guilty.

He previously pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.  

Ceglarek and Porras each face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of accessory after the fact to premeditated first-degree murder.

Florida teen, 17, pleads guilty to strangling his architect mother to death, then calling two friends to help bury the body and stage a robbery at their home after a fight over his D grade Florida teen, 17, pleads guilty to strangling his architect mother to death, then calling two friends to help bury the body and stage a robbery at their home after a fight over his D grade Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:59 Rating: 5

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