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Two sisters charged for cold case murder

(Photo Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

MIDVALE – They may have thought they had gotten away with it for nearly a decade, but two sisters have been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for reportedly killing a Midvale man.

The case revolves around the strangling death of Lester Lloyd Janise in his apartment in 2009.  Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill says officers went to check on him after newspapers started piling up outside.  Once in the apartment, Gill says, officers could smell decomposing flesh, and they spotted Janise on his couch.  The medical examiner ruled that the cause of death was strangulation.

“There were two belts around Mr. Janise’s neck,” Gill says.

Plus, Gill says there was a notebook with the name, Victoria.  Police had interviewed Victoria Big Crow Clown and her sister Jerah Jean Whipple Santos-Ramirez in 2009.  They had claimed Janise let them take his car to South Dakota, where it was recovered.  There were additional interviews in 2014, but, Unified Police Detective Ben Pender says Clown changed her story during an interview earlier this year.

“As we were going along… I mean, this was an extensive interview that lasted four hours with her.  As it went on and on, I could see this has been weighing on her,” Pender says.

During the last interview, Pender says Clown claimed her sister, Santos-Ramirez, had strangled Janise after a long fight in his apartment.  They were reportedly arguing about her children.

He says, “They couldn’t get Jerah to come back home.  So, when she did come back, I think Lester probably unloaded on her because he was very frustrated at the fact that she had been gone and not staying in contact and not taking care of her own children.”

Even if Clown’s story is true, the two sisters have been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for murder.

“I don’t think she’s being 100 percent honest, but, I think she confirmed a lot of things we already knew in the case,” Pender says.