Armed robbery suspects will have joint trial


Two men charged in an armed robbery outside of the Marshalltown mall will have a joint trial.

Police say Andrew X. Ramirez, 23, and Jose E. Morales, 18, robbed a woman at gunpoint as she was leaving the Marshall Town Center last fall. The men took the woman’s purse and fled from the area. The robbery, which occurred just before noon on Sept. 25, also triggered a shelter in place procedure at nearby Hoglan Elementary.

Ramirez was arrested the next day after he and his wife, Frances T. Gasca, went on a shopping spree in the Marshalltown and Des Moines area with the victim’s credit cards.

Gasca, 23, pleaded guilty to forgery and was sentenced in January to two years of supervised probation and was ordered to pay victim restitution.

More than a month after the robbery, Morales was arrested; he was initially held as a material witness in the case.

Both men are charged with first-degree robbery, going armed with intent and control of a firearm by a felon.

During a hearing Monday, both defendants withdrew objections and agreed to Assistant Marshall County Attorney Ben Stansberry’s motion to join.

Stansberry said he expects the trial will be scheduled sometime in April.