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Manhattan man arraigned in hit-run killing of Dionel Ramirez

Edwin Gutierrez, 48, of Manhattan, was at Criminal

Edwin Gutierrez, 48, of Manhattan, was at Criminal Court in Central Islip on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, to be arraigned on charges including murder, robbery and attempted grand larceny. Gutierrez is charged in the Nov. 28, 2014, hit-and-run death of Dionel Ramirez, who was run over by his own car as it was being stolen from a 7-Eleven parking lot in North Bay Shore. Credit: James Carbone

The Manhattan man accused in the killing of Dionel Ramirez, who was struck and killed with his own car as it was being stolen from a 7-Eleven parking lot last month, was held without bail at his arraignment Sunday morning.

Edwin Gutierrez, 48, of 559 W. 156th St., pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder with depraved indifference, felony murder, first-degree robbery and third-degree attempted grand larceny at First District Court in Central Islip.

Gutierrez is charged with stealing Ramirez's Hyundai while it was parked in the Bay Shore 7-Eleven parking lot with the driver's door open and the engine running before dawn on Nov. 28.

Ramirez, 69, of North Amityville, was picking up baked goods to donate to local homeless people, which he did several times a week, family and 7-Eleven officials said.

Ramirez tried to stop Gutierrez and was run over by his own Hyundai, police said. Gutierrez sped off, and the car was found abandoned nearby a short time later near his sister's home, authorities said.

Ramirez's widow, Blanca, was in the courtroom, where she wept quietly.

"He's my beautiful man," she said after the arraignment.

Suffolk homicide detectives, with help from the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, arrested Gutierrez Friday at West 156th Street and Broadway in Washington Heights in Manhattan.

Robert Biancavilla, deputy bureau chief of the homicide bureau in the Suffolk County district attorney's office, said at the arraignment that Suffolk detectives identified Gutierrez through interviews and video surveillance taken at the 7-Eleven in Bay Shore.

"You clearly see Mr. Gutierrez run him down," Biancavilla said.

Authorities located Gutierrez in Manhattan using cellphone tracking. He was put in a lineup Saturday and was identified by three people who witnessed the crime. Gutierrez has a criminal history dating back to 1990, including a robbery conviction in 2004, officials said.

Melville attorney Michael Elbert, who is representing Gutierrez, said his client didn't flee, but went to his home in Manhattan. Outside the courtroom, Elbert said he questioned how his client was identified and the quality of the surveillance footage, although he had not seen it yet.

He also said the police lineup was "very prejudicial," saying Gutierrez "stuck out" compared with the physical appearances of the other people.

Outside the courtroom, he said Gutierrez was intoxicated on the day he allegedly ran over Ramirez and that his questionable mental state may be a defense to the charge. He said several people saw Gutierrez intoxicated on Nov. 28 and that he has a history of substance abuse and alcoholism.

The attempted grand larceny charge was issued because Gutierrez allegedly tried to steal another car in the 7-Eleven parking lot less than an hour before he took Ramirez's car, authorities said.

Gutierrez is due back in court on Dec. 11.

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