JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The man accused of killing his cellmate at the Duval County jail was heavily guarded and shackled when he returned to court Wednesday afternoon.
Paul Dixon, 43, was serving a life sentence for a murder in 1993 when he was 17, but he was appealing the sentence in Duval County.
Investigators said Dixon killed his cellmate around 11 a.m. Thursday. News4Jax sources identified the man who died as David Ramirez, 50. Ramirez was a convicted child molester who was also serving life in prison but trying to get out on appeal.
Dixon’s family members, including his father, had no comment as they walked out of the man’s first appearance Wednesday after watching him get charged with murder once again.
Dixon was surrounded by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officers, and he was handcuffed with gloves on his hands. Judge John Moran ordered the man held without bond for second degree murder inside the Duval County jail.
“I know he was found guilty at trial but he was still denying the fact that he ever committed the crime in the first place,” said Michael Bossen, Ramirez’s attorney.
Bassen was Ramirez’s appointed attorney over the past two years for the appeal process. He learned his client was killed Tuesday afternoon.
“I know for individuals charged with sex crimes, it’s a sensitive thing,” Bossen said. “I don’t know if that’s motive behind it but a lot of times those individuals get treated pretty poorly by inmates.”
Bossen said despite the crime his client was convicted of, inmates still have basic rights to be protected and Ramirez’s loved ones, who live in New York and Colorado, are upset about what happened. He said some were traveling to Jacksonville to get more details about the death.
“He has a family and they are mourning,” Bossen said. “He’s a human being. He was on appeal that he has every right to be on and my job was to protect his rights.”
Bossen said Ramirez never asked for help, but did mention that he was constantly involved in altercations while incarcerated.
“He actually used to tell me that he had to fight in there every day for his life,” Bossen said.
JSO administrators said surveillance video of the fight was being reviewed and there was a witness: a third man in the cell. Police said they’re doing a full homicide investigation and couldn't release any evidence.
Requests for comment from Sheriff Mike Williams, Undersheriff Pat Ivey and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Corrections Director Tammy Morris were denied, with a spokesperson citing the ongoing investigation.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson was a corrections officer with JSO before he became a patrolman. He said officers do their best to keep inmates safe, but some incidents aren’t avoidable with violent offenders.
“Contentions and fighting goes on all the time,” Jefferson said. “There is such a thing as jail justice and sometimes, when other inmates find out what you’re in for and for hurting or harming a child, they take matters into their own hands. They take that personally.”