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Showgirl’s dad gets life term

As Las Vegas was preparing to turn 100 in 2005, Amy Ramet was debuting as a showgirl.

An up-and-coming rookie in the Tropicana’s Folies Bergere, she was featured in a 2005 Travel Channel show, "Las Vegas Turns 100." The camera captured the stunning starlet as she learned to put on false eyelashes and don a heavy headdress while walking down a flight of stairs in heels without looking at her feet.

"I’m so nervous about tonight," she said as she prepared for her first performance.

A tape of the show was played Tuesday for a jury deciding the fate of her father. Daniel Ramet strangled the 20-year-old dancer in their Las Vegas home in April 2006 and kept her rotting body in a bedroom there for a month before he was arrested.

"I’m sorry to the world because Amy could have been somebody," the former bartender said in court Tuesday.

The 12 jurors sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"In a case like this, it’s a life for a life," said prosecutor Sandra DiGiacomo.

The jurors, who spoke to the Review-Journal after the sentencing but declined to give their names, said Daniel Ramet seemed selfish and lacked remorse.

"It just seemed like she had a long life ahead of her and the punishment fit the crime," said one juror.

Ramet testified during the trial he strangled Amy Ramet after an argument in which she was following him around the house telling him to kill himself. He said she provoked him as he had been depressed and struggling with suicidal thoughts for months after he lost his job and lost a friend to cancer. Amy Ramet had moved in with him, but the two frequently argued, witnesses said.

On the day of the murder, Ramet said his daughter, who was waiting for a paycheck that week, was upset because they had nothing to eat.

"I snapped. I had to stop the belittlement of me," he said.

In a recorded call from jail he told his other daughter, Delsie Ramet, that he had choked her sister until she passed out, and then when she began to regain consciousness, he again wrapped his hands around her neck and finished her off.

Several members of the jury said that was the clincher for the murder charge — the fact that he twice had his hands around his daughter’s throat. "He already had his second chance," one juror said.

Ramet’s defense attorney Norman Reed had argued for a lesser conviction of voluntary manslaughter and said the strangling was not premeditated and happened in the heat of the moment. He asked the jury to give the father, who loved Amy Ramet, some hope of freedom, even though he said the 51-year-old was unlikely to survive the conditions of prison long enough to surpass the minimum sentence of 20 years.

"Do it for Delsie," he said, adding that she still visits her father in jail.

Delsie Ramet, 17, testified it has been difficult to lose her sister and father at the same time.

"I miss him," she said.

Her mother, Bernadette Ramet, discovered the murder when she used a baseball bat to break into Ramet’s house at 6401 Hyde Ave., near Torrey Pines and Alta drives, after her eldest daughter had been missing for a month.

Las Vegas police found Amy Ramet’s body black with decay, covered up by a blanket in a contorted position along with stacks of unopened mail and unpaid bills. Her father had dragged her body to her bed and left her there for about a month after the murder.

Ramet testified that he felt like he was protecting her.

The Ramet family declined an interview with the Review-Journal after the penalty hearing.

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