Citizen P.I. is investigating the sickening case of Joaquin Shadow Rams, who murdered his 15-month-old son, Prince, at his home in Manassas, Virginia, so that he could collect money on a life insurance policy.
Hera McLeod had briefly dated Rams in 2010, and the pair had a son together; however, McLeod ended the relationship in 2011. She tried to prevent Rams from seeing her son because of fears for the youngster’s safety, but a judge insisted on giving visitation rights to the father.
On October 20, 2012, Prince was staying with his father when the paramedics were called to the home. The toddler was found lying naked and wet on the floor. He was taken to a hospital but sadly died a short time later.
Rams claimed that Prince had suffered a seizure and that he had tried to help him by running a bath. However, the cops were suspicious. The investigators then learned that Rams had taken out numerous life insurance policies on his young son worth over $500,000.
The police concluded that Rams had been waiting for his opportunity to smother or drown Prince so he could pocket the cash.
Has Joaquin Shadow Rams killed before?
Their suspicion was not helped by the fact that this was not the first suspect death to have occurred to someone closely connected to Rams. In 2003, his girlfriend, 22-year-old Shawn Mason, was shot dead by an unknown assailant, and at the time, Rams had attempted and failed to collect a $143,000 insurance policy from her employer. He remains the prime suspect in that case.
He is also a suspect in the death of his mother, Alma Collins, who was strangled to death in 2008. On that occasion, Rams collected $162,000 from an insurance policy. However, he has never been charged in the Mason or Collins case.
Rams’s lawyers argued that Prince had died from natural causes. The toddler did suffer from seizures, but a medical expert said they didn’t believe he had had one on the day he died. The initial autopsy concluded that he had drowned, but this was later overruled by the state’s chief medical examiner, who put the cause of death down as undetermined.
The trial featured numerous medical experts arguing over Prince’s cause of death. Ultimately, the judge decided that the child had been drowned at the hands of his father.
Rams had taken the unusual step of forgoing his right to have a trial by jury, which led to the prosecution agreeing not to seek the death penalty. He was convicted by a judge of capital murder.
Rams’s lawyers asked the judge to bend the state rules by giving the child killer a lesser sentence than the required life imprisonment without parole, but the judge refused and called the murder a “cold, calculating and callous in its nature, and shattering in its impact.”
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Citizen P.I. airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.