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Can being an atheist in America get you killed? If police in a small town in Texas are to be believed, the answer to that question is yes. SMH.

Officials in Clay County, Texas revealed this week that human remains uncovered near the Oklahoma border last month were those of Spc. Jose Ramirez, an El Centro, California native who went missing from Fort Sill, Oklahoma more than seven years ago. A former friend of Ramirez’s, 30-year-old Justin Green, was charged with the murder in February:

Three others, including Green’s mother and sister, also face charges related to helping clean up the crime scene and hide the body, and the story was carried earlier this week by The Associated Press.

But one shocking detail in that story seemed to be overlooked in the AP’s lead: A criminal complaint against the group, obtained by Raw Story on Thursday, shows that Green’s sister believes he killed Ramirez “because Ramirez did not believe in God.”

It’s still not clear exactly when Ramirez was killed, but Texas Ranger Marshall W. Thomas claimed in his report that officers detected blood at a rural home in Petrolia, Texas after two individuals with knowledge of the crime came forward. They discovered the soldier’s body buried face down in a shallow grave, with both of his legs sticking out of the ground, covered by a tire and random trash.

The criminal complaint adds that Green had described Ramirez as a “hateful” person who did not believe in the Christian deity figure.

The police report claims that Green, his sister Brittany and her friend Stephanie Heaston-Corral allegedly worked together to hide the body and clean up the residency at the prompting of Green’s mother, Terri.

After burying the body, police claim the group all went to Brittany’s apartment and ordered a pizza and bread sticks with Ramirez’s credit card, and Brittany allegedly signed it using Ramirez’s last name.

Green, who once lived in the home where the bullet holes were found, remains in jail on $1 million bond and will appear in court Monday. His attorney did not return a phone message.

We always thought that one amazing thing about being a U.S. citizen is the right to practice under whatever belief system you choose and not be condemned or persecuted for it. What an incredibly sad story.


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