Manassas dad took out $560k policy on toddler before death

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Local,Virginia,Crime,Scott McCabe

A Manassas man accused of drowning his 15-month-old son took out $560,000 worth of life insurance policies on the boy before the toddler's death, according to documents released Monday.

Joaquin Shadow Rams, 40, was charged Friday with first-degree murder in the Oct. 21 death of his son, Prince McLeod Rams.

Rams appeared before a Prince William Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge on Monday to formally hear the charges. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for March 6.

Prince's mother, Hera McLeod, an intelligence analyst and former reality TV show contestant with her father, started a blog, "Cappucino Queen," after her son's death.

"I would be lying if I said I couldn't remember a time when I looked at this monster and believed he was a good man," she wrote Sunday about Rams. "Now, however, I look at this mug shot and I see the devil himself."

Rams started his own blog, "King Latte," to defend himself.

"I am angry at the death threats I have received 'anonymously' forcing me to constantly look over my shoulder as I go about the business of my life," he wrote before his arrest.

McLeod, of Gaithersburg, had left Rams two weeks after Prince's birth. She tried to get a Montgomery County judge to prevent Rams from having unsupervised visits with Prince, but was unsuccessful.

During a custody hearing in March 2012, detectives testified that Rams was a suspect in the still unsolved 2003 killing of his former girlfriend, Shawn K. Mason.

The judge awarded Prince's custody to Hera McLeod, but allowed Rams unsupervised visits with his son.

Prince died during a court-ordered, unsupervised visit with his father, who had taken multiple life insurance policies out on his son. The medical examiner determined that the boy had drowned.

According to documents released Monday, Rams told investigators that his son was suffering a seizure so he put the baby in an ice bath.

Prince had a history of seizures, according to the report, but the medical examiner could not find any evidence that Prince suffered a seizure before he drowned.

The medical examiner said Prince had "unexplainable injuries," including blood in his nose and bruises on his forehead.

The circumstances around the toddler's death last year prompted Manassas police to see whether Rams played a role in the death of Mason.

The 22-year-old Manassas woman was found shot in the head in the bedroom of her condominium on March 20, after Rams -- her ex-boyfriend -- reportedly was seen trying to break into the residence.

Rams told police he was trying to check on Mason because he could not reach her.

A medical examiner determined that she had died the previous day.

Sgt. Lowell Nevill, of the Manassas Police Department, said Monday that the Mason investigation remains ongoing.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner