Yonghe murder suspect found guilty by New Taipei court

Prime Yonghe murder suspect could face life in Taiwan prison

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Mayer (second from left) after capture in Philippines. 

Mayer (second from left) after capture in Philippines.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A New Taipei City court last week found the main suspect of the gruesome murder and dismemberment of a Canadian English teacher guilty.

When the Taiwan New Taipei District Court's trial for the Yonghe murder case ended on Dec. 27, the three judges found the prime suspect, Israeli-American tattoo artist Oren Shlomo Mayer, guilty. Although Mayer insisted to the end that he did not commit the murder, prosecutors believed that he had masterminded the killing, dismembered and disposed of the corpse, and shown no remorse after committing the crime.

Therefore, prosecutors called on the court to impose a life sentence on Mayer, reported CNA. Sentencing for the whole case will be held on February 15.

Mayer, aka "Oz," and American Ewart Odane Bent were tried for the murder of 43-year-old Canadian English teacher-turned-drug dealer Sanjay Ryan Ramgahan (顏柏萊) on Aug. 21, 2018, as well as the abandonment and destruction of a corpse. Taiwanese-Canadian Triangle promoter Wu Hsuan (吳宣), also known as Dan Wu, and American Jason Hobbie were tried as accomplices.

According to the prosecution's investigation, Mayer became acquainted with Ramgahan when he moved to Taiwan and was impressed by the profits from his illicit drug-dealing operation. Mayer soon joined Ramgahan in his drug-dealing business and eventually recruited Bent, Wu, and Hobbie to participate.

However, after Ramgahan's arrest in May of 2018, many of their drug dealing accomplices were also arrested, and Mayer suspected that he had become a police informant. In August of 2018, Mayer and Bent lured Ramgahan to a riverside park in New Taipei City's Yonghe District, where Mayer allegedly choked him to death with a wire saw, and the two dismembered his body with machetes.

Prosecutors allege that Wu purchased the machetes and served as a lookout, while Hobbie allegedly alerted them to Ramgahan's arrival with fireworks and provided gasoline to burn the remains. Both have been charged for acting as accomplices to the murder.

During court testimony, Bent denied that he had killed anyone but admitted to taking part in the dismemberment and disposal of Ramgahan's corpse. Bent claimed that he witnessed Mayer accuse Ramgahan of being a police informant as he prepared to murder him.

Bent said that despite the fact that Ramgahan had denied being an informant, Mayer went ahead and strangled him to death. Mayer, however, claimed in court that it was Bent who murdered Ramgahan, according to SET News.

Bent later apologized to Ramgahan's family for his part in the crime, reported Liberty Times. Hobbie claimed that he suspected something serious was going to happen but that he did not believe it would be murder.

After the three judges found Mayer to be guilty of Ramgahan's murder, the prosecution requested that the court hand down a sentence of life in prison. As for Bent, prosecutors called for a 12-year sentence, reported CNA.

With the exception of Wu, who was released on NT$300,000 (US$9,900) bail at the end of August in 2018, the three other foreign nationals allegedly involved in the crime have been kept in custody. Wu admitted that he had helped Mayer transport drugs but claimed that he was completely unaware that Mayer and Bent were planning a murder, according to China Times.