Child Killer Convicted, Sentenced to 50 Years

Knox Longoria
Knox Longoria | Image by Genesis Lynn Bernal

Prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney General of Texas helped secure a conviction and 50-year sentence for a man accused of killing his girlfriend’s son in 2021.

Ezekiel Ramirez pled guilty to murdering 4-year-old Knox Longoria on June 4, 2021, a news release from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office stated. The 29-year-old man from Corpus Christi made his plea in the Nueces County 347th District Court on February 19 and will be incarcerated until at least 2047, when he will be eligible for parole.

Knox had been in Ramirez’s care prior to being rushed to Corpus Christi Medical Center Bay Area with life-threatening internal injuries. He eventually died at Driscoll Children’s Hospital of blunt-force trauma to the abdomen. The Corpus Christi Police Department opened an investigation into the boy’s death, and a few days later, arrest warrants were issued for both Ramirez and Knox’s mother, 29-year-old Bethany Bernal.

Bernal was booked into Nueces County Jail on the charge of injury to a child by omission. She is still in detention awaiting trial. Her trial will take place on April 26 if she does not agree to a plea deal with prosecutors before April 12.

The tragic death of Longoria is not the only murder in recent years involving a criminally negligent parent and their significant other. Last month, a Denton County jury found a woman guilty of capital murder, injury to a child causing bodily injury, and injury to a child by omission over the death of her 7-year-old son in 2022, as previously covered by The Dallas Express.

Prior to her son Phoenix’s death, Sabrina Ho, 46, had been aware that her boyfriend, Todd Lofton Shaw, was abusing him, but instead of stopping the abuse, she took steps to hide it from the authorities. Shaw pled guilty to murdering Phoenix last year.

In Dallas, there have been a total of 1,881 family violence crimes reported in 2024 as of February 23, according to the City’s crime analytics dashboard.

The Dallas Police Department investigates child abuse and other crimes against children, yet it has been laboring under a significant staffing shortage. DPD fields approximately 3,000 officers despite a City report having recommended a force of 4,000 for a city the size of Dallas.

Dallas City officials voted in a budget of just $654 million for police operations this fiscal year, which is far less than the spending levels seen in other high-crime jurisdictions, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

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