(June 15, 2022) District Attorney (DA) Keith Higgins announces that Kegan B. Bennett, 40, Douglas L. Wooten, 41, and Denver L. Wooten, 19, all from Hazlehurst, pled guilty to Felony Murder in the 2021 death of Marcos Ramirez, 55, also of Hazlehurst. Additionally, Verlyttia Raiford, 33, plead guilty to Armed Robbery, and Denver Wooten pled guilty to the Aggravated Assault of Ramirez’ daughter, Brittany Ramirez, 27. The pleas, which were made pursuant to plea agreements, were accepted in May 2022, in Jeff Davis County Superior Court.
The charges stem from the January 4, 2021, death of Marcos Ramirez, who was shot at his daughter Brittany’s home on Mark Hall Drive in Hazlehurst. Doug Wooten, who had previously worked with Marcos Ramirez, believed that Ramirez carried large sums of money and came up with a plan to rob him. Wooten and his son, Denver Wooten, drove to Ramirez’ work location and followed him to what they believed to be his home; however, the location turned out to be the home of his daughter, Brittany, where she lived with her fiancé and their toddler son.
Doug and Denver Wooten left the Ramirez’ residence and went to the home of Doug’s girlfriend, Verlyttia Raiford, where they obtained three firearms. Doug, Denver and Verlyttia took the firearms and went and picked up Verlyttia’s cousin, Kegan Bennett. The four then went back to Brittany’s home on Mark Hall Drive. The three men exited the vehicle armed with the firearms, wearing masks and carrying zip ties. Verlyttia was instructed to stay in the area, and to pick them back up once the robbery was completed.
As the three men approached the residence, Marcos Ramirez heard a dog barking and opened the door, coming face to face with the three armed men. Ramirez fought the men and was ultimately killed by a shotgun blast fired by Kegan Bennett. Shell casings found at the scene indicated that a 9mm semi automatic handgun, which was carried by Doug Wooten, was also fired, but did not strike Ramirez. Denver Wooten was carrying a revolver, which was also fired and did strike Ramirez. Denver Wooten also pointed his revolver at Brittany Ramirez.
The investigation, conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Office, resulted in the co-defendants being apprehended within hours of the murder. In addition to
incriminating statements by witnesses and confessions by the defendants, items of evidence, to include firearms, cell phones, zip ties and clothing were recovered and linked to the defendants.
According to Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Presley, who prosecuted the case, “We offer our condolences to Mr. Ramirez’ family. Mr. Ramirez was just a regular man working hard and living his life. After work one day, he went to visit his daughter and grandchild, and his life was cut short by individuals who concocted a plan to rob him. Anytime a criminal brings a weapon to a crime, they are just a trigger-pull away from it escalating to a murder, and, unfortunately, that is exactly what happened in this case.”
Following acceptance of the guilty plea to Felony Murder in Jeff Davis County Superior Court, Judge Stephen D. Kelley sentenced Kegan Bennett, Doug Wooten and Denver Wooten to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Denver Wooten additionally pled guilty to the Aggravated Assault of Brittany Ramirez, and was sentenced to 20 years to serve to run concurrent. Verlyttia Raiford pled guilty to Armed Robbery, and received a sentence of 20 years serve 15 in prison, without parole.
Members of the media with further questions may contact the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office at 912-554-7200.