Staten Island man cleared of in fatal Christmas Eve dispute

A Staten Island grand jury dismissed the case against a man who killed an acquaintance who came to his apartment armed with a box cutter on Christmas Eve.

Emmanuel “E.J.” Diaz, 32, was cleared Thursday of charges of murder, strangulation, criminal obstruction of breaking and assault in the death of Rafael Ramos, 36, according to Diaz’s attorney.

“This reaffirms an individual’s right to self-defense,” his attorney Mark Fonte, told The Post. “You have the right to defend yourself in your home against an armed intruder.”

Cops say Ramos had shown up at Elbee Gardens at 1950 Clove Rd. at 7:15 a.m. on Friday and was acting disorderly, banging on doors.

Ramos’s mother told the Staten Island Advance, which first reported the dropped case, that Diaz may have been romantically involved with Ramos’s girlfriend.

Ramos slashed Diaz in the face during the fight and exited the apartment cut and covered in blood that morning, cops said.

Diaz, though, fatally strangled Ramos inside his apartment, according to police.

Ramos’s mother said that Diaz may have been romantically involved with Ramos’s girlfriend.
Steve White