Illegal immigrant held in rape, murder of California woman was on probation

(FOX News) One of two men charged in connection with last month's home invasion, rape and fatal bludgeoning of a 64-year-old California woman was in the U.S. illegally and on probation, the News-Press has learned.

Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez, 29, who is charged along with Jose Fernando Villagomez, 20, in the July 24 attack in Santa Maria, Calif., was on probation for committing battery against an unidentified woman on May 22, 2014, while in possession of methamphetamine. He was charged twice this year for violating probation, once for possessing a concealed knife and the other for drugs, but a Santa Barbara judge allowed him to enter a substance abuse center in Santa Maria in lieu of jail. According to County Jail officials, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to issue an immigration detainer that would have required local authorities to hold him for deportation.

Police say Marilyn Pharis was beaten with a hammer and sexually assaulted in the morning attack, and died later at a local hospital. An autopsy was set for Thursday. 

Ramirez fled, but was tracked from the scene by a police dog to a nearby home, according to authorities.

Read the full report on FOXNews.com.

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