MANASSAS, Va. – Misfortune has befallen those close to Joaquin Shadow Rams. His ex-girlfriend was shot and killed in 2003. His mother died in 2008, her passing ruled a suicide. And his 1-year-old son, Prince McLeod Rams, died in his father’s care on a court-ordered visitation.
“Either he’s the most unlucky bastard on this planet, or he’s a killer,” Prince’s mother, Hera McLeod, said in 2012. She fled the relationship with her one-time fiance about two weeks after Prince was born.
Prosecutors are not buying the bad luck theory and now believe Rams is responsible for all three deaths. On Thursday, a judge is expected to issue his verdict on whether Rams killed his son in an effort to collect more than $500,000 in life insurance he had taken out on the boy.
Rams, who has been jailed awaiting trial since 2013, has maintained his innocence. He says Prince died after suffering a fever-induced seizure during just the fourth visit without supervision that Rams had been permitted.
Prosecutors said Prince was either drowned or suffocated and that the kind of seizures Prince suffered are not fatal.
Rams is on trial only for the death of his son. Indeed, prosecutors were barred from presenting evidence about the death of his ex-girlfriend, Shawn Mason, and his mother, Alma Collins.
In all three deaths, life insurance was involved. Rams collected more than $150,000 in insurance on his mother’s death, and prosecutors say he tried to collect on a policy connected to Mason’s death.