Ronald Miranda, Killer Who Hid in Florida City for Decades, Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison

Ronald Miranda, one of the FBI's most wanted men who disappeared for 31 years only to resurface in Florida City, will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. The 65-year-old was convicted last month of the 1980 murder of Mitch Arambel in Los Banos, California. Yesterday a judge sentenced Miranda to 25 years to life in prison.

Miranda was living in a Florida City trailer park and working as the manager of Captain's Restaurant when he was caught last April. After threatening to kill several employees, Miranda was finally arrested and deported to California for trial.

Miranda likely would have lived out the rest of his life in peace in the so-called "Gateway to the Keys" had he not had a meltdown in the restaurant last year. At the time, New Times wrote about the bizarre episode that brought to end a 31-year manhunt and murder mystery.

On March 23, according to court records, waitress Rebecca Inman watched her boss whip out a pistol, open the chamber, and slowly count the bullets inside. Then he counted the number of employees in the restaurant and announced, "I have enough to go around."

On April 4, Inman and several other employees pulled Gamble aside. They claimed to have seen Hyman steal from the cash register. Gamble was furious. "You are an asshole and a liar," he shouted at Inman, according to court documents.

The next day, Inman and two other waitresses were in the kitchen around 9 p.m. when he patted the pistol in his pocket, pointed his finger, and threatened to kill them. Inman and waitress Ruth Di Pasqua tried to leave, but the manager followed them out the door.

"I am going to put a bullet in Ruth's head. I have one with her name on it," Gamble warned, according to court records. "If I am fired, I am not going out without a bang. I am not leaving without shooting this place up. It will be like Vietnam." According to a police report, Gamble also pulled his gun that night on 18-year-old busboy Josvany Carrillo, asked him if he'd ever been shot, and began to laugh.
Miranda's murder trial did clear-up a few of the mysteries behind his life and arrest. Prosecutors were able to prove that back in 1980, Miranda had broken into his estranged wife's home and shot her friend, Arambel, twice.

The second shot, combined with his 31 years on the run and testimony from his ex-wife, were enough to convict Miranda of first-degree murder last month.

Another mystery solved was Miranda's military record. For years, Miranda had told his Captain's co-workers that he was a Vietnam veteran, even showing them scars in order to prove it. But after his arrest, even his friends had doubts about his supposed service.

At trial, however, Miranda's public defender presented him as a decorated vet whose actions in Los Banos were the result of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

But a jury didn't buy it, and Miranda will spend at least the next 25 years behind bars.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.