Tecumseh inmate killed during March uprising was stabbed more than 130 times, investigator says

LINCOLN — An inmate who died during a violent uprising at the Tecumseh State Prison was stabbed more than 130 times, an investigator testified Wednesday.

Nebraska State Patrol investigator Neal Trantham said as many as 15 inmates participated in the March 2 killing of Michael J. Galindo.

The only inmate who has so far been charged in the crime was ordered to stand trial Wednesday by Johnson County Judge Steven Timm.

He ruled that the prosecutors presented sufficient evidence against Eric L. Ramos to justify advancing the case to District Court.

Authorities have charged Ramos, 26, with first-degree murder in the death of Galindo, who died after inhaling smoke from “combustion products” placed inside a cell. The autopsy also indicated that contributing factors were “multiple sharp and blunt-force injuries.”

Trantham also testified that many of the dozens of inmates seen on prison surveillance video were wearing similar clothing and some obscured their faces with towels.

Defense attorney Jeff Gaertig questioned how authorities would be able to pin Galindo’s death on Ramos alone.

“We don’t know who killed Mr. Galindo,” Gaertig said.

Galindo, 31, of Scottsbluff, and another inmate were found dead after about 40 inmates took control of a housing unit for about 3½ hours. Several of Galindo’s family members attended the hearing and reacted emotionally upon hearing details of his death.

Galindo was serving time for an armed robbery and forgery. Ramos, 26, is serving a sentence of nine to 10 years for domestic assault, possession of a firearm by a felon and other offenses out of Gage County.

Ramos also is charged with first-degree assault, two counts of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and one count of tampering with physical evidence.

The other inmate who died during the disturbance, Damon E. Fitzgerald, 39, of Omaha, was slain separately, authorities have said. Charges have not been filed in that case or in connection with the deaths of two other inmates killed in a riot at the same prison in 2015.

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