A Cary man was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison after pleading guilty to delivering the Xanax that police said later killed his 19-year-old girlfriend, Rachel Ramirez.
On Wednesday, 22-year-old Jacob Reis accepted an offer from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office and pleaded guilty to a felony count of delivery of a controlled substance.
He must serve 50 percent of the sentence and will receive credit for time he already has spent in the McHenry County Jail.
In exchange, prosecutors dropped more serious allegations, including a drug-induced homicide charge. If Reis had been convicted of the Class X felony, he could have been sentenced to as many as 30 years in prison.
He chose not to give a statement in court Thursday and instead wrote a letter directly to Ramirez’s mother, Sarah Peters.
Peters was one of 19 people who submitted letters to the judge, expressing how Ramirez’s death has affected them.
“The day after Mother’s Day in 2018, I received word that Rachel was nonresponsive, and it took over three hours to hear the awful notice that my daughter Rachel was dead,” Peters said. “One of my precious children was taken from me, and it was my Rachel.”
Family and friends described Ramirez as kind, artistic, loyal and wise beyond her years.
“Rachel knew how to brighten up anyone’s day; that is one of the many things I will always remember about her,” Ramirez’s friend, Lexi Kolesnik wrote.
Police previously charged Reis and 19-year-old Reanna Salas with possession of a controlled substance in connection with Ramirez’s death.
Prosecutors continued to investigate the matter and later filed drug-induced homicide charges against the pair.
Salas’ case is ongoing, and she is due back in court April 4.
The charges stemmed from a 911 call placed May 14 in the 300 block of Alma Terrace, Cary, police reports show.
When officers arrived, they found Ramirez on a bedroom floor. A blood test revealed she had fentanyl, morphine and THC in her system, according to police reports.
A police search of Reis’ phone revealed a Facebook messenger conversation in which he and Salas arranged a drug delivery, prosecutors wrote in a July 31 motion.
Ramirez and Reis recently had started dating but had known each other for years, the man’s father, Jeff Reis said.
The couple was in love and had been looking forward to a fresh start, he said, adding that word of Ramirez’s death was horrible news for everyone involved.
“The fact is they’re going after the wrong person,” Jeff Reis said. “They should be going after the person who sold and packaged those drugs, not the addict.”
Jacob Reis, who struggles with addiction, successfully completed an inpatient treatment program while he was in police custody.
McHenry County Judge James Cowlin made a recommendation Thursday that Jacob Reis be sent to a prison where he could continue to receive substance abuse treatment.
“Quite frankly, there’s been too many young people who come before me in this courtroom and don’t come back,” Cowlin said. “It is an epidemic.”
Before watching Jacob Reis walk out of the courtroom in handcuffs Thursday, Peters took a moment to address him directly.
“At the very least, I hope that you find Rachel on your mind every day. I hope that you share her story; I hope you do everything in your power to never allow this to happen to anyone else you care about,” she said. “I hope you recover, and I hope you live.”