A suspect linked with a drug-induced robbery scheme that led to the deaths of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger in Hell’s Kitchen pleaded guilty to robbery, grand larceny and identity theft charges on Monday, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors stated that the 30-year-old Eddie Ashley, also known as Eddie Baker, faced charges connected to four distinct incidents. One is tied to a citywide criminal scheme that victimized at least 16 people from September 2021 to August 2022. This same scheme resulted in the deaths of Ramirez, a 25-year-old social worker, and Umberger, a 34-year-old political consultant.
Ashley had initially pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned for the crimes on separate occasions over the past 12 months. However, this morning (Monday), he changed his plea to guilty.
The DA’s Office confirmed that Ashley will face ”a promised sentence of nine years in prison plus five years post-release supervision.”
The guilty plea was confirmed to W42ST by Ashley’s lawyer, Terrence Grifferty, this evening. “He pleaded guilty to two different robberies (two different dates), and one identity theft and one grand larceny felony charge, on four different dates,” said Grifferty. None of the dates of the guilty pleas coincide with the deaths of Ramirez or Umberger. Grifferty confirmed that Ashley would face “nine years, concurrent with each other.”
Ramirez and Umberger disappeared and were found dead within weeks of each other in the summer of 2022 — each after having spent a night out at gay bars in Hell’s Kitchen. Ramirez was found dead after leaving The Ritz Bar on W46th Street on the early morning of Thursday April 21, 2022. Umberger was found dead after leaving the Q Club on 8th Avenue on Saturday May 28, 2022. The Medical Examiner’s office classified both deaths as homicides in March this year, adding that the two men were killed by a lethal dose of fentanyl, p-fluoro fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, lidocaine and ethanol.
GUILTY PLEAS BY EDDIE ASHLEY (aka EDDIE BAKER)
- ROBBERY IN THE SECOND DEGREE: on or about August 13, 2022, aided by another person actually present, forcibly stole property from another person. PROMISED SENTENCE: 9 years in prison + 5 years post-release supervision
- IDENTITY THEFT IN THE FIRST DEGREE: on or about October 1, 2021, knowingly and with intent to defraud assumed the identity of a person by presenting himself as that other person, and by acting as that other person, and by using personal identifying information of that other person and thereby caused financial loss to such person, and to another person, and to other persons in an aggregate amount that exceeded two thousand dollars. PROMISED SENTENCE: 2-4 years
- GRAND LARCENY IN THE THIRD DEGREE: on or about December 5, 2021, stole property from a second person and the value of the property exceeded three thousand dollars. PROMISED SENTENCE: 2-4 years
- ROBBERY IN THE SECOND DEGREE: on or about May 14, 2022, aided by another person actually present, forcibly stole property from another person. PROMISED SENTENCE: 9 years in prison + 5 years post-release supervision
* These sentences will run concurrently, not consecutively.
Linda Clary, John Umberger’s mother, told NBC OUT this afternoon: “I’m grateful for his willingness to admit his guilt and have some consequences for that. We can only hope for justice for the rest involved.”
Five other men — Jayqwan Hamilton, Robert Demaio, Jacob Barroso, Andre Butts, and Shane Hoskins — were charged and arrested in connection with the same crime scheme in April of this year.
More News on Julio Ramirez and John Umberger Murders
“Everyone should be safe when they go out and experience Manhattan’s vibrant nightlife, and this multi-year prison sentence makes clear we will not tolerate this type of dangerous conduct,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.
On Instagram this evening, Councilmember Erik Bottcher said: “Anyone who seeks to victimize our community should know that they will be held accountable.”