Skateboarder’s Girlfriend Sentenced for Killing Boy
The girlfriend of professional skateboarder Neil Heddings was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison Friday for killing Heddings’ 2-year-old son.
Christine “Pinky” Rams, 27, was convicted in November 2005 of second-degree murder in the death of Marcus Heddings in November 2002.
Heddings, 31, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to six years in state prison for the death. Prosecutors said he failed to protect his son and prevent his death. Heddings, in custody since 2002, has earned more than four years of credit for time served in Riverside County Jail.
Rams, who did not testify at the trial, on Friday spoke of her frustration with the jury’s verdict and her attorney before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Cope sentenced her.
“I want to declare my innocence to the court,” said Rams, who had alleged Marcus suffered his injuries while under the supervision of his mother in San Diego. “I am not guilty of the charges I was convicted of. I don’t know what happened at the trial. A lot of evidence didn’t come out.”
Thomas Dunn Jr., Rams’ attorney, said he would probably appeal the sentence.
“The jury didn’t find out who this young lady really is,” Dunn said outside the courtroom. “That’s the real tragedy here.”
Kelly Hansen, the Riverside County deputy district attorney who prosecuted the couple, called Rams’ claim of innocence “incredulous.”
“The evidence in this case was clear,” he said. “That little boy died at the hands of that woman.”
The Riverside County coroner’s office determined that Marcus died from several blows to the head. During the trial, witnesses also testified that Rams had verbally abused the boy.
Some of the most damning evidence came when the pair was secretly taped while talking inside a patrol car after they were taken into custody.
“We should have ... ran, Neil,” Rams told Heddings in the recording, which was played for the jury. “We had the chance and we had the ... time, we had the money.”
“I know. I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Heddings responded.
Garland Long, Heddings’ uncle, attended Rams’ sentencing hearing Friday and said he refused to believe Rams and Heddings were responsible for Marcus’ death.
“Neil loved Marcus more than he loved life,” he said. “If he thought she had abused that little boy, he would have took him and left in a second.”
The case generated nationwide attention because Heddings drew support from the skateboarding community while on trial.