A man convicted in 2010 of torturing a teenager imprisoned at a Tracy home could be released as early as this month following a decision by the California parole board, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
“This is not a man who should ever be by children,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said at a news conference Tuesday opposing the release.
From our archives: Anthony Waiters found guilty in torture of Tracy teenager
Acts of torture
Anthony Waiters was found guilty on Nov. 23, 2010, of participating in the beating, cutting and burning of a then-16-year-old boy who was chained to a fireplace in the home of Waiters’ neighbor, Michael Schumacher, for a year beginning in 2007.
Waiters was a youth football coach and mentor prior to the abuse, according to prosecutors.
The victim, Kyle Ramirez, had been in the custody of Sacramento County Child Protective Services due to mistreatment by Caren Ramirez, one of three defendants charged in addition to Waiters. Caren Ramirez’s daughter abducted Kyle Ramirez returned him to her mother.
Caren Ramirez’s took him to the Schumachers’ house on Tennis Lane in Tracy in August 2007.
At the house, Ramirez was chained to a fireplace and denied food, clothing, access to a shower and the ability to attend school, according to prosecutors. He was burned, struck with a baseball bat as well as with defendants’ fists, cut with knives and doused with lighter fluid, among other horrific acts of abuse, prosecutors said.
Waiters personally sliced Ramirez’s arm multiple times with a knife and punched the teenager while he was chained — in one instance wearing boxing gloves to protect his own hands.
Ramirez suffered third-degree burns after he fell unconscious onto the fireplace grate during one assault, prosecutors said.
In December 2008, Ramirez discovered how to unchain himself and fled into the backyard, using a trampoline to launch himself over a retaining wall and running into an In-Shape gym located behind the home for help.
After his escape, and during Waiters’ trial, Ramirez lived with his aunt and uncle, Sydney and Ralph Perry.
“(Kyle Ramirez is) a courageous young man whose journey was unimaginable,” Verber Salazar said Tuesday.
‘Callous’ and ‘disgusting’
Waiters was found guilty of nine felony counts including torture, aggravated mayhem, child abuse and false imprisonment. Yet Waiters insisted upon his innocence throughout his trial.
“I tell you today, I did not commit these crimes,” he said at his sentencing in 2011. “(Ramirez) said I hated him. I did not hate him.”
Waiters received 11 years, eight months of prison time for the bulk of the charges, and an additional sentence of seven years to life for the torture conviction.
The three other defendants — Schumacher, his wife Kelly Lau, and Caren Ramirez — took plea deals for state prison sentences of 30, 33 and 34 years respectively.
But Waiters has since admitted to abusing Ramirez, calling his conduct “callous” and “disgusting” at a March parole hearing, according to a letter from Gov. Gavin Newsom to the California Board of Parole Hearings.
Waiters told the board his actions were motivated by “alcohol, unresolved grief, companions that didn’t have my best interest at heart,” according to a letter from the DA’s Office opposing his parole.
Waiters was also diagnosed with a personality disorder, the letter said.
In March, the board granted Waiters parole, according to a statement by the DA’s office.
‘They got it wrong’
The governor has requested that the parole board review its decision at a hearing scheduled for Aug. 16.
“(Waiters) continues to demonstrate profound deficits in insight into what led him to participate in an astonishingly inhumane crime, the ongoing torture of a vulnerable young victim,” Newsom said in the letter.
The Tracy Police Department, which investigated Ramirez’s case, as well as the DA’s Office have also opposed Waiters’ parole.
Tracy Police Chief Sekou Millington on Tuesday said witnesses in the case have expressed concern about receiving threats if Waiters is released.
Ramirez himself has also expressed opposition to Waiters’ release to the governor, Deputy District Attorney Angela Hayes, who prosecuted the case, said Tuesday.
“I’m not faulting the parole board in general,” Hayes said. “But in this case, they got it wrong.”
If the decision is affirmed, Waiters could be released as early as Aug. 19, according to the DA’s office.
Record reporter Aaron Leathley covers business, housing, and land use. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeathleyAaron. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at recordnet.com/subscribenow.
This article originally appeared on The Record: Anthony Waiters, man convicted in torture of Tracy teen, could be paroled