A 24-year-old Anaheim man convicted of fatally stabbing his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend shortly after he was released from the Orange County jail without bail earlier this year was sentenced Friday to 12 years in state prison, prosecutors said.

Miguel Angel Reyes was convicted in October of voluntary manslaughter in the May 16 killing of Jolina Ramirez at an Anaheim park, according to a news release Friday from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Jurors also found true a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon, a knife.

On the day of the killing, Reyes and Ramirez, along with several others, “became involved in an argument” at the park, prosecutors said.

Ramirez hurled a brick at Reyes, hitting him, according to the news release. Reyes responded by fatally stabbing Ramirez, prosecutors said.

Earlier this year, a jury convicted Reyes of a misdemeanor vandalism charge for an unrelated incident, but hung on a felony gang enhancement, officials said.

While awaiting retrial on the gang enhancement, Reyes in April was released from custody because of an emergency statewide zero-bail order. The order was part of the state’s attempt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in local jails by releasing some inmates.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office went on the record to object Reyes’ release, along with the state’s zero-bail order, which ended in June, officials said. 

“Adopting a sweeping one size fits all $0 bail policy has resulted in the release of dangerous and violent individuals back into our community,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement Friday. “We didn’t need the $0 bail experiment to tell us what we already knew: when you let criminals out of jail, they will commit more crimes.”

“This is just another example of this reckless policy resulting in the loss of a young life when its intended purpose was to save lives. It is an unforgivable tragedy that a 17-year-old girl is dead – and she didn’t have to die,” Spitzer added.

If convicted of the felony gang enhancement, Reyes faces an additional two years and eight months in prison —  eight months for the enhancement, and two years for committing a crime while out on bail, prosecutors said.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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