Volusia teen receives 45 year prison sentence after slaying his mother

Gregory Ramos buried mother’s body at nearby church

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A 17-year-old boy was formally sentenced on first-degree murder charges Friday in Volusia County, receiving 45 years in prison for killing his mother in 2018 after an argument.

Gregory Ramos last month entered a guilty plea for murder and two other charges in the death of his mother.

Deputies said Ramos was 15 years old when he strangled Gail Cleavenger to death after an argument over his bad grades.

Ramos initially told detectives that he returned home from school and discovered that the house had been burglarized, his mother was missing and her van was running in the driveway. He then made a 911 call to report the alleged burglary.

Cleavenger’s body was found buried under a fire pit at River City Church on Highbanks Road in November 2018 after Ramos confessed to killing her, sheriff’s officials said.

According to investigators, Ramos said that it took 30 minutes to strangle his mother at the family’s home on Alicante Road in DeBary.

Before receiving his sentence Ramos addresses the court and read a letter, saying he was “here to honor my mother.”

“There are so many conversations that I wanna have with her, but now can not,” he told the court, adding “Because of my actions, I will never get to truly know my mom. Not only have I stolen my mother for myself, but from everyone else as well.”

Ramos was charged as an adult and could have faced up to life in prison, but after a deal with prosecutors, his sentence was reduced to 45 years.

His sentence can be reviewed again in 25 years but he will serve lifetime probation.

Ramos’ 84-year-old grandmother was granted permission from the judge to say goodbye to her grandson before he was taken away. She took a moment and prayed with him.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!