'Worst Roommate Ever': KC Joy killed Maribel Ramos for demanding overdue rent
Kwang Chol Joy murdered his roommate Maribel Ramos for demanding his share of the rent money
The sudden disappearance of army veteran Maribel Ramos, on May 3, 2013, caused the police to probe further into the missing person case. All fingers pointed to her roommate, Kwang Chol "KC" Joy. This true life incident is featured in detail in Netflix's 'Worst Roommate Ever'. At the time she went missing, Ramos had just about completed her degree in criminal justice, and was living in an apartment in California, with Joy.
Her body was found in a grave days later, on May 17, at a remote area in Modjeska Canyon, California. The remains were too decomposed by then to draw a conclusion to the cause of death. The prompt investigation led to the last person she had spoken to — her boyfriend, Paul Lopez. Lopez told the cops that Ramos had mentioned having an argument with Joy regarding their rent checks. The rent was due the following day but Joy said he couldn't pay his share for the month. This was when Ramos told him that she wanted him out of her house the next morning. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst. Read on to know more.
Luckily, surveillance cameras installed in the area helped the investigators a great deal. The last time Ramos was seen alive was at around 8:30 pm, on May 2, 2013, when she was dropping off the rent check at the front office, sometime after she spoke to Lopez. When Joy was questioned regarding her disappearance, he simply said that he was out on a drive during that time. He also expressed his sadness, and added, "I just need her back. I need her to come back because she’s my best friend. Actually, she’s my only friend, my only family member I have, so I miss her."
Another piece of evidence popped up while the police was monitoring Joy's internet activity at the local library. This was when his phone and laptop were at the station for further examination. During one visit, the authorities kept a close eye on his search history. He had looked up the duration it'd take for a body to decay. He had also used the Maps app to research an isolated spot in Modjeska Canyon. After a thorough 45-minute search, the police found Ramos' remains.
Joy's lawyer, Adam Vining, tried his best to lessen the charges his client was faced with. He argued that Joy could be convicted of manslaughter but not murder, and added, “The crime that will be proven here is improper disposal of a body".
Could unrequited love be a motive? Apparently, Joy was deeply in love with Ramos and had even gotten eye surgery to look younger. He had also booked two tickets to a cruise. Orange County Deputy District Attorney, Scott Simmons, told the court, “Maribel was his life, and the opportunity for him to be with the love of his life was coming to an end". Ramos had previously called 911 on April 21, 2013, to say that she felt extremely unsafe after talking to her roommate. She was sleeping with a machete to protect herself.
Joy stood for trial for Ramos' murder in July 2014. The prosecutor concluded that the two roommates had an argument regarding their rent, which further led Joy in killing her. In court, he said, "I miss Maribel more than anyone. I think about it, I’ve been here about 440 days in the jail. I think about it almost every day".
At the end of his trial, Joy was found guilty on one felony count of second-degree murder. Prior to his sentencing, he said, “Family wants me to apologize, which I cannot apologize for something I haven’t done. Maybe someday [the] truth will come out, maybe I’ll just die inside prison".
In September of 2014, Joy was sentenced to 15 years to life. He remains incarcerated and continues to proclaim his innocence at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, California. Joy said that he wanted a retrial and not an appeal. He wanted the evidence that was excluded earlier in court to be included in the new trial. He said, “They searched my apartment about seven times. No DNA. No fingerprint. No signs of foul play or anything". Having written several letters to the judge and Eyewitness News, his requests for the same were denied. Joy will be eligible for parole in February 2023.
'Worst Roommate Ever' releases on March 1, 2022, on Netflix