Victim's family gets first glimpse at accused killer

Homicide victim Tynell "Blue" Hardwick's mother never thought her family would get its day in court, but on Monday, almost four years to the day after her son was fatally shot outside a Norwich bar, she watched her son's accused killer stand before a New London judge.

The Southeastern Connecticut Cold Case Unit last month charged Jose E. Ramos, 29, who also known as "Kool-aid," with gunning down Hardwick as Hardwick exited Rumors Bar & Grill at 88 Boswell Ave. on Oct. 10, 2008.

Tears streaming from her eyes, Sheila Harris could only cry as she watched Jose E. Ramos come out of the courtroom lockup, look past Harris and nodded to members of his family sitting nearby.

Harris had come with a large contingent of family members to watch as Ramos, who has been held in lieu of $2 million bond, was presented before Judge Susan B. Handy. Detectives had advised them to skip Ramos' initial arraignment following his arrest, Harris said. She said she realizes the court process will take some time.

"It's like starting all over again," said Melvin Hardwick, the victim's father.

Hardwick, who grew up in the Hartford area, had moved to Norwich to be with his girlfriend, his father said. He had a young daughter who is now almost 11.

"I was living down south when this happened," Hardwick said. "When I got the call, I thought it was my mother. It was my son. I'm just glad he didn't suffer."

The father did not know why someone would want to kill his son, but said detectives told him his son was shot in the back of the head. Ramos allegedly waited outside the bar, where Hardwick had become a regular. Details of the state's case against Ramos will remain sealed at least through Oct. 22, when he makes his next court appearance.

Ramos will be represented by Public Defender Bruce A. Sturman, who will notify the court whether Ramos wants to pursue a probable cause hearing. Defendants in murder cases are entitled to such a hearing within 60 days of their arrest. At the hearing, the state would have to prove to a judge that it has enough evidence to prosecute Ramos.

Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Lawrence J. Tytla will be prosecuting the case.

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