June 6, 2008— -- It was the last day of school, and 17-year-old Thomas Moses Ramirez wanted an obstacle to his high school sweetheart's affection dead.
Police in Pasadena, Texas, arrested Ramirez Wednesday during a sting operation in which the high school sophomore offered an undercover officer a bag of anti-depressants as a down payment for the killing of his ex-girlfriend's 15-year-old friend, whom he thought was getting in the way of a reconciliation, according to police spokesman Capt. Bud Corbett.
Ramirez allegedly promised the hit man an additional $150 and some muscle relaxants once the job was done.
"He wanted her dead," Corbett said.
It was unclear whether Ramirez had hired an attorney, but Cesar Ramirez, the teen's father, told the Houston Chronicle Friday that his son is a "good kid" who made a stupid decision driven by teenage love.
"This is his first true love. He's got a broken heart," his father said. "He's not thinking with his head."
The teenager remains in jail on $100,000 bond at the Harris County Detention Center, where he faces a solicitation of capital murder charge, according the Harris County Sheriff's Office. His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
Ramirez and the undercover officer, who was wired during the alleged deal-making, discussed three possible ways to kill the high school freshman, Corbett said. The hit man could shoot her from a distance, sniper-style. He could stab her in the heart. Or he could go "old school" and strangle the teen, Corbett said.
"The suspect specifically said that if the contract killer is going to stab her, make sure he stabs her in the heart," he said.
Ramirez provided a name, address and photograph of the intended victim and a bag of Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug.
The undercover sting that derailed the teen's alleged plot followed a tip to the Houston Crime Stoppers program from another male student who was originally solicited by Ramirez to make the hit. The undercover officer joined that student in a meeting with Ramirez at the park, posing as a relative.
After the terms of the deal were worked out, police arrested Ramirez at the park without incident.
Notified by police of the Ramirez plan, the intended target and her parents were "shocked to learn about the preparation." Ramirez allegedly had been trying to confront the freshman on his own before contracting the kill.
Corbett said that the meager $150 blood money reflected the teen's immaturity. "It certainly is an indication that it was a guy who had a mindset that wasn't congruous with his resources," Corbett said.
But the severity of the charges and steep bond that was set, he added, show how serious prosecutors are taking the case against Ramirez, who recently was fired from a job at a grocery store after a verbal altercation with a customer.
The student who informed police will receive a reward for the tip, Ray Waythen, a spokesman for the Houston Crime Stoppers, told ABC News.
"This is how it's supposed to work and it went 1-2-3," Waythen said. "They gave sufficient information that investigators knew they had to set up the sting and arrest the suspect."