American convicted of Yonghe murder sentenced to life in prison in Taiwan

Taipei court hands down heavy sentences to Yonghe murder mastermind, accomplices

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Oren Shlomo Mayer (center)

Oren Shlomo Mayer (center) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The American man convicted of being the mastermind behind the grisly Yonghe murder has been handed a life sentence, while his accomplices have received sentences ranging from 12 years to six months in prison.

On Saturday (Feb. 15), the Taiwan New Taipei District Court sentenced Israeli-American tattoo artist Oren Shlomo Mayer (孫武生) to life in prison for the murder of 43-year-old Canadian English teacher-turned-drug dealer Sanjay Ryan Ramgahan (顏柏萊) on Aug. 21, 2018. For his role in helping dismember Ramgahan's body, American Ewart Odane Bent (班特) was handed a sentence of 12 years in prison, reported Liberty Times.

American Jason Hobbie (何傑生) was given a sentence of one year and six months in prison for helping to destroy evidence of the crime. Lastly, Taiwanese-Canadian Triangle promoter Wu Hsuan (吳宣), also known as Dan Wu, was handed a six-month jail term for purchasing the machetes used to hack Ramgahan's corpse.

At Saturday's sentencing hearing, only Bent and Hobbie appeared before the judges. When Bent heard the length of his sentence through an interpreter, he reacted with a "fierce frown," according to the report.

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 joined Ramgahan in his drug-dealing business and eventually recruited Bent, Wu, and Hobbie to participate.

However, after Ramgahan's arrest in May 2018, many of their drug dealing accomplices were also arrested, and Mayer suspected Ramgahan had become a police informant. In August 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 being 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.

The defendants in the case still have the option of filing an appeal.