TAMPA — Early one morning three years ago, a security camera outside a Ruskin mobile home recorded images of a woman stepping through the darkness, knocking at a door and asking Alexis Martinez for a ride.
When Martinez, 24, emerged and approached his car, two men appeared. Both had guns.
They beat him, snatched his watch, then forced him back inside.
Martinez and Juanita Solorzano, 33, who was pregnant, were forced into a bathroom. Both were shot to death.
The woman whose 2 a.m. knock precipitated the murders appeared in court Monday and quietly admitted her role in the crime.
Samona Louise Ramey, 35, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, along with several other charges, in an agreement with state prosecutors. The deal calls for her to testify in the case of McKinsie Lyons, the only other identified suspect in the case.
Her plea came with the promise of a 35-year prison sentence if she complies.
Ramey said little during a brief court hearing Monday, but answered a set of standard questions from a judge, meant to ensure she understood her guilty plea. Wearing orange, she appeared by Zoom video from an assembly room at the Falkenburg Road Jail.
No one from the families of the two victims spoke.
The crime happened Jan. 24, 2018, at the home, which is tucked near a fish farm and the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office on 14th Avenue SE in Ruskin.
After the couple was found slain, Hillsborough sheriff’s detectives retrieved the video from a DVR system in the home. It showed Ramey approaching the trailer at about 2 a.m., according to court records.
A porch camera recorded the two men, one of them donning a mask, as they attacked Martinez. Another camera in the living room recorded them forcing their way inside and taking items. The men could be heard demanding “ice,” a reference to methamphetamine, according to court records. At some point, they became aware of the cameras and shut off the video.
Martinez’s brother was later shown the video images and recognized Ramey as someone his brother had dated.
Sheriff’s deputies found her a few days later at the Sun City Center Inn, where she was arrested. When first questioned, Ramey told investigators she was forced to participate in the robbery. Prosecutors noted in court documents that the video shows her at one point donning a ski mask, but taking it off when the men are inside the trailer.
She did not name Lyons as one of the robbers, records state, but investigators later found that she’d stayed at the hotel with him a few days after the crime. Other witnesses identified Lyons as the man in the surveillance videos, according to court documents.
He was arrested in September 2018 in Kentucky. The third person involved in the murders has not been identified.
Lyons, 42, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He faces a possible death sentence if found guilty.
Late last year, he was declared incompetent to face trial and was sent to a state hospital for mental health treatment. His case will continue once he is deemed well enough to return.
Looking for real-time news alerts?
Subscribe to our free Breaking News newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
In addition to the murder case, Ramey also pleaded guilty to series of separate robbery charges related to a home invasion prosecutors said she committed with Lyons weeks before the killings.
Ramey will not face formal sentencing until after Lyons is brought to trial.