Custodian's killer gets life in prison

By TImes staff writer
Published December 12, 2006

TAMPA - Freddie Lee Clemons Jr. was sentenced to life in prison Monday for killing a 54-year-old school custodian in April 2004.

As Clemons beat Onoria Suarez Ramos and she fought back, a mixture of their blood - and DNA - splattered a wall inside the A.J. Ferrell Middle School classroom she was vacuuming at the end of her shift.

Another trail of blood, with droplets all about the same size, began outside the room, continued down the sidewalk and led to a fence at Chelsea Street.

The victim, her ribs and jaw broken, face bruised beyond recognition, lay partly exposed, a sign that the killer had tried to sexually assault her.

As detectives interviewed registered sex offenders living near the school, Clemons stood out. He had a violent past - and a cut on his right knuckle.

Clemons lived four blocks from the school. Two months before the murder, he was released from prison after serving 18 years for breaking into homes and sexual assault.

Those cases were similar to the attack on Ramos, Detective Dennis Drabiniak said.

Prosecutors sought the death penalty. Clemons, 38, was spared that by pleading guilty Monday to first-degree murder, attempted sexual battery and burglary of a structure. He also got a 20-year consecutive sentence for the latter two charges.