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Long Beach police arrest three in alleged murder-for-hire plot

November 18, 2013|By Christine Mai-Duc
  • Monterey County residents Holly Ramos, 41, Frank Haverly, 40, center, and Keith Phillips, 50, are suspected in an alleged plot to kill Ramos' 62-year-old mother, a Long Beach resident who had sought to become foster parent to Ramos' children.
Monterey County residents Holly Ramos, 41, Frank Haverly, 40, center,… (Long Beach Police Department )

The daughter of a 62-year-old woman who was found severely beaten and left for dead more than a month ago is one of three people arrested in the attack, Long Beach police said Monday.

Holly Ramos, 41, and her husband, Frank Haverly, 40, were arrested Thursday on suspicion of concocting a “premeditated murder plot” to kill Ramos’ mother.

Keith Phillips, 50, was arrested on suspicion of attacking Ramos’ mother, who was found in critical condition in her Long Beach home and initially was not expected to survive. All three suspects are Monterey County residents, police said.

Officers responded to screams coming from the oceanfront peninsula neighborhood on the evening of Oct. 11 and found the injured woman, whom they initially assumed was the victim of a home invasion robbery.

Long Beach police say further investigation revealed that the victim and Ramos were in a custody dispute over Ramos’ two young children. Ramos was recently arrested on narcotics and child endangerment charges, police say, and her children, ages 2 and 4, were placed in foster care.

The victim had recently sought to become foster parent to her grandchildren, according to police. Her name has not been released.

Ramos and Haverly are accused of planning the crime and enlisting the help of Phillips, who police believe drove to Long Beach and told the victim he was a Monterey County child services employee to gain entrance to the home.

Believing him, the victim let him into the house and spoke to him at length about the foster placement process, according to police. Then, authorities said, Phillips “violently and viciously attacked” the woman, striking her repeatedly with a blunt metal object shaped like a bat and attempting to suffocate her.

“The suspect made it clear to the victim that he was there to kill her and she would not live through the attack,” said Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell in a news conference Monday afternoon. “What the suspect did not anticipate was the victim’s will to survive.”

Homicide and robbery detectives worked with authorities in Monterey County and Menlo Park to conduct surveillance and gather further evidence, even renting an RV in the mobile home park where Ramos and Haverly were eventually arrested. Phillips was arrested at a VA hospital in Menlo Park.

McDonnell said the victim was hospitalized for several weeks and is still recovering from her injuries. The children remain in foster care.

All three suspects are facing charges of conspiracy, attempted murder and home invasion robbery.

Bail has been set at $50 million each. Their arraignment has been scheduled for Dec. 4.

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christine.maiduc@latimes.com

Twitter: @cmaiduc

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