Police: Gay Houston man strangled to death

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One of two suspects in the strangulation and beating death of a popular gay Houston restaurant manager made an initial court appearance on Monday as a judge set his bond at $500,000.

Taylor Coyledean, 21, and Carlos Martinez, 22, face murder charges for allegedly killing 51-year-old Joseph Angel Ramos (top photo) by strangling him with a belt on or about Nov. 8 and then fleeing to California in his stolen car.

On Monday, Coyledean (bottom photo) was in a Houston courtroom as a judge set his bond, according to KPRC. After the brief hearing, Coyledean appeared to grin as he was escorted out of the room.

The second suspect, Carlos Martinez, remains jailed in Los Angeles as he fights extradition to Texas.

Police found Ramos' body on Nov. 18 floating in the pond at Willow Waterhole Greenway Park. He was wearing a t-shirt and pajama pants. An autopsy showed that Ramos was strangled and beaten to death, according to Houston police. He was strangled with a belt and a porcelain statue was tied to his body with a speaker wire.

During the incident, police say Coyledean and Martinez stole Ramos' two-door black BMW and other personal items. The pair was arrested on Nov. 28 when Los Angeles police spotted them driving the stolen car and found Ramos' wallet and passport inside. Houston police say the men killed Ramos in his Post Oak Place Drive apartment near the Galleria before dumping his body in the retention pond.

Ramos invited the two men to live with him in November.

Ramos, a popular restaurant manager, recently started work at Nino's Restaurant, where he was last seen on Nov. 8. He had also worked as a manager at La Strada at the height of its popularity and for 15 years at Arcodoro, according to CultureMap Houston.

Court documents show that at least three people received text messages from Ramos' phone after his death indicating that he traveled to Dallas for a funeral, contracted Ebola and was being sent to Atlanta for treatment. Other text messages were deleted from Ramos' phone, according to KPRC.

Services were held for Ramos at Bering United Methodist Church on Dec. 6.

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