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Pasco gang member takes deal to avoid possibility of life in prison

Ramon 
Perez-Velez
Ramon Perez-Velez
Published Mar. 31, 2016

NEW PORT RICHEY — A man who was charged in 2014 in a 7-year-old homicide has struck a deal with prosecutors to avoid the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.

Ramon Perez-Velez, 29, of Spring Hill pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter. He received the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, according to Assistant State Attorney Bryan Sarabia.

Perez-Velez, who lived in New Port Richey in January 2007, was a local leader in the Latin Kings gang. He organized a group to kill James Andre Paulin, 30, a member of the Valentine Bloods, authorities said. It was a revenge hit for an attack on the son of a Latin Kings member.

Paulin was found dead Jan. 4, 2007, with a gunshot wound to his back.

New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart said at the time of Perez-Velez's arrest in August 2014 that the Latin Kings leader was initially the primary suspect, but it took years of investigative work to identify him as the shooter.

In the interim, Velez-Perez was arrested three times in Pasco County on violation of probation and marijuana possession charges, jail records show.

Prosecutors originally charged Perez-Velez with second-degree murder. Had a jury convicted him, his maximum sentence would have been life in prison, Sarabia said.

Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 909-4613 or jsolomon@tampabay.com. Follow @josh_solomon15.