The wounds still run deep 33 years after an innocent 16-year-old Bronx girl was gunned down during a holdup.
Family and former teachers of Karen Marsh are begging the state Parole Board to deny her killer’s latest bid for freedom.
“It was a life sentence that he handed me personally,” said Karen’s father, Warren Marsh, a retired NYPD detective. “There’s no parole for me or my family.”
Marsh’s family and former teachers at the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula have inundated the Parole Board’s victims’ impact unit with letters demanding Santiago Ramirez remain behind bars.
“I do beseech you to deny parole to Mr. Ramirez,” Kathy Corticcio, one of Karen’s teachers the year she was killed, wrote in a letter to the Department of Correction in Albany.
“He must never again have the opportunity to deprive anyone else of the right to life.”
Karen, who was beloved at the school for her involvement in a variety of activities, will be honored Friday by Mount Saint Ursula during its traditional “ring day” ceremony. A tuition assistance prize also will be awarded in Karen’s name.
“Everyone loved her. She was the kind of kid who could express her opinion without putting down other people,” said Mary Cronin, Karen’s 10th-grade religious studies teacher.
While her school celebrates her life, her killer was slated to appear before the Parole Board this week.
The teen was tragically slain when Ramirez and two accomplices held up a Burger King on White Plains Road just before midnight on April 3, 1981, according to police records.
Karen was working an extra shift behind the counter to earn spending money for an Easter trip to France, her parents said.
During the robbery, Ramirez killed Karen with a single shotgun blast.
Police held a citywide manhunt for the suspects, aided by the Daily News, which ran sketches of them. The two accomplices quickly turned themselves in — one to The News and another to the 46th Precinct. Both were released on parole years ago.
Police eventually tracked down Ramirez in California. He was charged with murder, convicted and sentenced to 22 years to life.
Ramirez first came up for parole in 2003, but has since been denied release multiple times.
In a letter this month, the office of Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson also urged the Parole Board to keep Ramirez in prison.
“This was not a crime of passion or wayward youth, but a planned armed robbery,” wrote Edward Talty, chief of the Bronx DA’s homicide bureau.
The results of his latest hearing will be made public next week, said Parole Board spokesman Patrick Bailey.
Karen’s parents say they’re humbled by the outpouring of support.
“The response to this has absolutely been amazing,” said mom Barbara Marsh.