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Beating charges dropped in home invasion case

(ran PC edition of PASCO TIMES)

As prosecutors predicted last week, international bureaucracy has forced the the state to drop charges against a man accused of beating another man with a metal pipe last year.

Ramiro Clemente, 26, faced a possible life sentence if convicted of battery in the commission of a burglary in a July 31 attack on Humberto Morales at Morales' home just north of Dade City limits.

Investigators said that in the attack, Clemente knocked Morales unconscious. He was briefly hospitalized and has recovered.

Another man, still unidentified, fatally stabbed Morales' house guest, Benjamin Salgado-Ortiz, 27. Clemente never has been accused in the killing.

Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia told a judge last week the state was unable to work a deal with federal immigration and Mexican officials to bring Morales, who had been in this country illegally, back from his Mexican home to be a witness against Clemente.

Shortly after the hearing, Garcia said the state filed the paperwork to drop the charges. The notice appeared in court files Monday, the day Clemente was to stand trial.

Records show the charges have been dropped, but Clemente remained Monday at the Pasco County jail in Land O'Lakes without bail on an unrelated Hillsborough County warrant accusing him of failure to appear in court there on a charge of attempted carjacking.

According to the notice filed by prosecutors, "Neither the Mexican consulate nor the Immigration and Naturalization Services will allow (Morales) to return to the United States. Without the victim, the state of Florida is unable to proceed."