Former boxer marked for murder goes undercover to catch the person who wanted him dead

"I'm the only person alive that has ever walked out of his own grave" murder-for-hire target tells "48 Hours"

Produced by Susan Mallie, Jennifer Terker and Claire St. Amant

Ramon Sosa, was a former pro boxer who owned two gyms in Houston, Texas. He was on top of the world — until he learned someone was trying to hire a hit man to kill him.  He came out fighting, helping police in an elaborate sting which meant he'd go down for the count in a most unusual way. "48 Hours" correspondent Peter Van Sant goes inside the twisted case of a man whose murder was ordered – and who lived to talk about it. 


To this day, Ramon Sosa finds it surreal that he was the target in a murder-for-hire plot.

Ramon Sosa: I would've never believed it. I would've thought it was just something that is -- you only see in movies, or in -- on TV. I would've never thought that it would be happening to me.

He appeared to have the perfect life -- from rubbing shoulders with celebrities like Hugh Hefner to owning a successful boxing gym in Houston. And he had found the love of his life, Lulu.

Ramon Sosa: Life was very sweet.

Beth Blair is a friend of the Sosa's.

Beth Blair: I saw two fun, outgoing, loved to party, loved to get together with people and have barbecues, and the more people the merrier.

Ramon's zest for life started early. He was born with a fighting spirit. Originally from Carolina, Puerto Rico, Ramon grew up boxing with his father.

Ramon Sosa: I fell in love with the sport of boxing.  I saw how -- how the training and -- and there was a few world champions that trained there. And -- and I just loved it from -- from the time I -- I was little.

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Ramon Sosa as a young boxer

Ramon Sosa

After training for more than 10 years, Ramon took a shot at the pro boxing circuit.

Ramon Sosa: They used to call me the Puerto Rican Express. When I turned 17, I turned pro.

Peter Van Sant: So did you ever knock anybody out in the ring?

Ramon Sosa: Oh yeah. It was -- a lot of knockouts.                                                                 

Eventually, the Puerto Rican Express ran out of steam. Ramon hung up his boxing gloves and decided to pursue the American dream.

Ramon Sosa: I went back to school … got my education and … I still kept training, you know? … always wanted to be involved with boxing in some kind of way.

Ramon got married young and had three children with his first wife. He eventually settled down in Houston, Texas, where he opened a boxing gym of his own, where he could continue to teach his passion.

Raul Marquez: Ramon is a nice, humble guy, friendly – family oriented.

Raul Marquez is an Olympic boxer and Showtime commentator. He is also Ramon's longtime sparring buddy.

Raul Marquez: Anybody that goes in the ring has got to be tough, has got to be mentally tough. You know, I think he's mentally and physically tough. But like I always say, he wasn't tough enough to be me, you know, beat my butt, you know? [laughs]

Peter Van Sant: So who is the better fighter, you or Ramon?

Raul Marques: Records speak for themselves. Just look it up. Look it up.

Ramon's first marriage ended in 2000. By 2007, Ramon, then 40, was ready to get back in the ring. But this time, he was looking for a different kind of knockout.

Ramon Sosa: And a friend of mine says, "Man, there's a place up there … they would play live music and I heard there's a lot of beautiful ladies out there, Latina ladies."

Ramon decided to go and see this place for himself, and as soon as he arrived, someone special caught his eye.

Ramon Sosa: The place was packed … and I noticed her.

Peter Van Sant: And you're thinking, "Man, I'm fighting out of my weight class here," you know?

Ramon Sosa: Yeah, yeah.

Ramon Sosa: She was very, very attractive. She looked very nice. She danced very, very well. So I just kept my eye on her.

The woman he noticed was Lulu Dorantes.

Ramon Sosa: Next thing I know she walks by me and she steps on my toe.

Peter Van Sant: Now, do you think she might have stepped on your foot on purpose?

Ramon Sosa: Oh, she sure did. She even admitted it later on.

Ramon and Lulu had an instant connection.

Ramon Sosa: And that was it. I mean as soon as we started dancing, we didn't get off the dance floor for the whole night.

Ramon still remembers the very first song they danced to; a popular Latin tune that the salsa band played that night. It would become their song.

Ramon Sosa: "Brujaria." It's a song by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.

Peter Van Sant: And it means what?

Ramon Sosa: Witchcraft.

Peter Van Sant: Witchcraft.

Peter Van Sant: And forgive the pun, but you were under her spell right?

Ramon Sosa: Basically, yes. I was under her spell.

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Ramon says he and Lulu had an instant connection

Ramon Sosa

Spellbound after dancing the night away, Ramon went home with Lulu, and the rest was history.

Beth Blair had a ringside seat to their relationship.

Beth Blair: She doted on him. She was great.  She'd bring him coffee and get up every morning with him and make his breakfast. I just thought that was really neat, their relationship. You know, they got along really well.

Raul Marquez: A very happy couple. …They would compliment each other, they were into each other.

After less than a year of dating, Ramon dropped to one knee.

Ramon Sosa: I proposed to her around Christmas time. I remember proposing to her and she started crying. She cried and cried and cried. She was happy. But she couldn't wait to get married.

Lulu Dorantes became Lulu Sosa on March 15, 2009.

Ramon Sosa: She treated me well. She treated me like a king.

Lulu, originally from Mexico, came to the United States with her son and daughter

Peter Van Sant: What brought her to Houston?

Natalia Flores: You know to have a new like a better life for her children. To you know start again because she was divorced in Mexico and then she come here

Natalia Flores is a hair stylist and one of Lulu's closest friends. She met Lulu back in 2007.

Natalia Flores: She was a nice friend. …A good mom, good worker, a hard worker.

Lulu was often generous with her friends.

Beth Blair: If I would say, "I love that ring," shed take it off and give it to me. …I'd always be careful to say I don't like that because she'd end up giving it to me.

In 2010 Ramon opened a second gym. This time Lulu was by his side. She kept the books and became a personal trainer

Peter Van Sant: How big an operation was it?

Ramon Sosa: The gym was about 5,000 square feet. And we average about 200 some members a month. …Everything was great.

Little did Ramon know, he would soon be in the fight of his life.

THE SOSA SPELL BREAKS

Peter Van Sant: What was it like growin' up Sosa?

Mia Sosa: Oh, my gosh. It was like being a superstar almost. Because everyone knows my dad. Everyone knows who my dad is.

For Ramon's daughter Mia, a former model and beauty pageant contestant, and her two brothers, growing up around a local boxing celebrity had its perks.

Mia Sosa:  It was fun. …Our dad was a jokester. So every time we were around, it was tons of laughs, and smiles.

Lots of blended families experience growing pains, but Mia says life after Lulu arrived was not as harmonious as ads for the gym, featuring Ramon and Lulu, made it seem.

Mia Sosa: She didn't want anything to do with us. …We were, like, just nothing to her.

Mia found Lulu's coldness not just mean, but ominous.

Mia Sosa: It wasn't like she was trying to become a stepmom. She knew that at some point we weren't really gonna be in her picture.

What's more, that spell Lulu seemed to cast over Ramon started to eat away at his relationship with his own children.

Beth Blair:  She didn't like him spending money on his kids and seeing 'em.

Mia Sosa: We're not hanging out as much. And I know we're not doing it because he's got someone else that he's paying his attention to. And it's like, "Why? I'm your daughter. Don't -- where are you going?"

Ramon says there was so much animosity between Lulu and his children that they weren't there for a major event in his life. 

Ramon Sosa:  My kids didn't go to my wedding, that's something that -- hurt me.

Mia Sosa: That day that we found out that he had gotten married, it was heartbreaking. Heartbreaking.

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Ramon and Lulu Sosa at their boxing and fitness center 

Ramon Sosa

Ramon and his new bride focused on growing their gym into a powerhouse.

Peter Van Sant: How much money were you guys making a month or a year?

Ramon Sosa: There was probably about over $18,000, $20,000 a month.

Peter Van Sant: $18,000, $20,000 a month in profit?

Ramon Sosa: Yeah.

But after six years of marriage, the Sosa spell began to break. Lulu started confiding in her friends.

Natalia Flores: She told me that he doesn't want to work too much and he stay more at home. …And she's working hard and hard and hard.

And accusations of Ramon's laziness were just the beginning.

Beth Blair: She had said on occasion or two that he was physical with her or that he had come in drinking and was physical with her.

Peter Van Sant: What did she mean by physical?

Beth Blair: Like grabbing her or pushing her.

Natalia Flores: Because he's a strong guy. …He came … in a strong way at home … and force to do things that she doesn't want in that moment.

Peter Van Sant: Like sex.

Natalia Flores: Uh-huh [affirms].

Peter Van Sant: Did she ever tell you that Ramon would force himself upon her and force her to have sex with him when she did not want to?

Beth Blair: Yes, she did. She had said that on occasion.

Peter Van Sant: Lulu claims that you have raped her.

Ramon Sosa: Yeah, she had … she's tried everything to ruin my life, from rape, being abusive, to being a drunk. And all these are claims, not one of 'em -- not one have -- have I been charged for.

Ramon Sosa: I tell you, sir, that these hands -- I've never – hit -- a woman in my -- in their lives. These have always been for fighting in the ring and not even in the streets, not even in the streets. For her to say something like that, that was really hurtful.

Around the same time that Lulu was complaining to her girlfriends, Ramon says another problem suspiciously appeared: missing money.

Ramon Sosa: After we start having problems at home, with the marriage, there was issues with the gym. …I'm working people out a lot more and I see new faces all the time. But when I see the bottom line here, it's not adding up.

Peter Van Sant: Are you worried that she's skimming money?

Ramon Sosa: I was worried. And I was wondering what she was doing with the money.

Ramon soon learned where some of that money may have gone. In March 2015, Lulu hired divorce attorney Julio Joglar.

Julio Joglar: Lulu was in fear for her safety.

Joglar says he was shocked by what Lulu brought with her to his office.

Julio Joglar: She was -- able to take pictures of scratches that he left on her arms, legs, shoulders.

He shared the photos with "48 Hours."

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Lulu Sosa's divorce attorney shared photos of bruises she says she suffered at the hands of her husband.

CBS News/Julio Joglar

Julio Joglar [referencing photos]: According to Lulu, this was caused by Ramon at one time when he wanted to force himself to her. And there was an altercation and Ramon grabbed her and scratched her.

Julio Joglar: That is evidence … that he was using force to push her legs out.

Peter Van Sant:  There are scratches on her upper arm. … And she claims there's a bruise on her leg that you inflicted on her.

Ramon Sosa: Those are all fabricated. I -- I can tell you those are all fabricated.

But there was one photo that even Ramon says was not made up.

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Ramon Sosa says he never hit his wife, but does admit to punching this door. 

Julio Joglar

Julio Joglar:  As you can see in this picture -- Ramon punched that door. And that can give you an idea of the strength of this man.

Ramon Sosa: That, I admit to the punch. …She was -- accusing me of stuff. And that's one thing I did. I took my frustrations out. But, as far as putting a hand on her, never ever.

Despite allegations of physical abuse, Ramon and Lulu remained in the same house even after she filed for divorce.  They lived on different floors.

Peter Van Sant:  And was Lulu afraid of Ramon, afraid that he may seriously hurt her?

Natalia Flores: Yes, she was afraid of that.

And it was at that time, in June 2015, that a man -- who asked "48 Hours" not to show his face --- was working out at the gym. He said to call him Mundo.

Mundo: Ramon Sosa, he's a friend. …He's a very good mentor to me.

Mundo had grown up on the tough streets of East Houston.

Ramon Sosa: He had a very, very rough background. …Gangs and -- and drugs and -- and fighting in the streets. …He wanted a new life and – and -- and he became like -- like a son to me.

Mundo says he was friends with Lulu, as well. She was there, talking to her 16-year-old daughter, when he overheard them.

Mundo: A conversation was taking place – about … a customer … that was there that supposedly was claiming to be a big shot, that he had connections of – of -- hit men, of just people that could inflict harm. …What caught my attention was -- was towards the end – of -- of the conversation, whose name came up.

Peter Van Sant: Did they mention Ramon?

Mundo: Yes.

Stunned, Mundo said nothing. He came back to the gym the next day and confronted Lulu, who told him that Ramon was physically abusing her. Then, she said something else.

Mundo: She's like, "I'm -- I'm tired. You know, I'm tired of him. It's already too much, you know?"… "I wish he'll disappear. I wish something, you know?" And I'm like, "Disappear? What do you mean, disappear? Like what? Disappear." And I did the pistol sign [gestures pointing a gun with his fingers]

EXPOSING THE PLOT        

Mundo was certain that Lulu had murder on her mind and that his friend, Ramon, was in danger.

Peter Van Sant: And what was it about the way she was talking to you that made you think this was something more than just idle words?

lola-sosa.jpg

Lulu Sosa

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 Mundo: Her eyes. Just her eyes. …I've seen that look before … just people that are serious about what they're saying.

Knowing Lulu was dead serious, Mundo had to think fast. He came up with a plan to stop her. Mundo offered to get involved and hire the hit man himself.

Mundo: I gave Lulu the impression that I was gonna reach out to a hit man, that I have the guys already ready.

Mundo convinced Lulu he believed her claims of abuse and would help her. But it was actually all a ploy to protect his friend Ramon, who he called as soon as he left the gym.

Ramon Sosa: And he tells me, "Lulu wants to kill you."

As shocking as the news was, Ramon says he instantly knew why.

Ramon Sosa:  If I died after the divorce was finalized, she was not gonna get the money that I have for my retirement.

Peter Van Sant:  …the value of the gym, the value of the home?

Ramon Sosa: She had -- yeah, she -- she had everything already figured out.

Ramon immediately contacted police, but was told nothing could be done based only on conversations with an angry wife, as threatening as they sounded.

Mundo: The sheriff's department needed more. They needed more evidence.

So the two old boxing buddies came up with a plan: they would launch their own sting operation. Using his street smarts, Mundo would pretend to hire a hit man. He'd send texts to this fictitious killer with details about the hit -- details he'd share with Lulu.

Mundo: She needs to see that I'm goin' back and forth with somebody.

Ramon and Mundo bought two disposable cellphones.  Little did Lulu know that the target, her own husband, was holding that second phone.

Mundo: And the phone he's gonna use to play his own hit man.

Peter Van Sant: Play his own hit man?

Mundo: Yes, sir.

Ramon Sosa: I started stressin' because, you know, here we are, me and Mundo, doing this amateur investigation or undercover investigation. I don't know what I'm doing.

But Mundo did. He started recording his daily conversations with Lulu:

LULU SOSA: Mundo?

MUNDO: What's up Lulu?

MUNDO: They just want to know based on what you're offering … To know you are serious that you want him killed.

LULU SOSA: Yes, yes, yes. Definitely. That they do it? They should do it. I don't give a damn. That I'm going to pay? I'm going to pay. 

As the days passed, both men worried Lulu might have another hit man waiting in the wings.

Mundo: My thing was, what if her patience runs out? You know, Ramon ends up dead? Or what if her patience runs out and I end up dead?

Ramon told no one about what he and Mundo were up to, and living in fear over what Lulu might be up to took its toll. He started carrying a gun.

Ramon Sosa: I'd be at a stoplight and – and -- and, you know, I would put the gun in between my legs. You know, looking left and right the whole time at a light.

Ramon could not even escape his fear at night.

Peter Van Sant: And you're in bed. Where's the gun?

Ramon Sosa: Underneath my pillow, loaded.                      

So Mundo kept the pretend negotiations on track, acting as the middleman between the fake hit man and Lulu.

Mundo: She's like, "Well, tell 'em I'm offering the white truck. Tell 'em I'm offering 'em jewelry. Tell 'em I'm offering 'em, you know, this much money."

All this time, Ramon and Lulu were still living under the same roof. On June 9, weeks before Mundo overheard Lulu's threat, police had been called to the Sosa house. Lulu's divorce attorney says there was argument between Lulu's son and Ramon over a truck, which Lulu's son recorded on his cellphone:

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An argument between Lulu's son and Ramon over a truck was recorded on Lulu's son's his cellphone:

Montgomery County Constable's Office

RAMON SOSA: Whose vehicle is this?

LULU'S SON: This is my vehicle – I have the legal documents on the right –

RAMON SOSA: Where?

LULU'S SON: --which I need today.

RAMON SOSA: Where?

LULU'S SON: Please don't take my vehicle.

LULU'S SON: Please step out of my car.

LULU'S SON: Ramon, please step out of my car.

[video shows phone knocked from hand of Lulu's son)

Julio Joglar: Ramon went to take the vehicle away from Lulu's son. And when Lulu's son basically told him, "No, you're not gonna take my vehicle," Ramon punched him on his face.

Ramon was issued a citation for assault.  But he says his hand only made contact with the phone. 

Ramon Sosa: I'm an ex-professional fighter. …If I woulda hit that kid, believe me, he would not be standing up right now. …I didn't put my hand on that kid.

On June 30, Lulu and Ramon faced off in court. Lulu wanted a restraining order against Ramon.

Ramon Sosa: Her attorney wrote up the orders that … I was abusive, that I hit her son. …That they fear for their lives -- for their lives, you know, living with me, staying in my house.

Ramon was ordered to move out of their home and stay away from the Woodlands gym. But he also got an order restraining Lulu from the first gym he owned – the one he'd opened before meeting her. Ramon says he kept his eye on the bigger prize:  exposing Lulu's plot against him.

Ramon Sosa: You know, she thought she had me on the ropes … about to knock me out. …In boxing … that's called an eight count. I took an eight count. I got kicked out of my own house.

But the boxer was about to make a comeback. Ten days after launching their sting, Ramon, posing as "Paco" the fake hit man, texts Mundo -- he's gotten a "9 millimeter gun" costing "200 dollars."

Ramon Sosa: When Mundo received … the down payment for the gun to have me killed from Lulu, that's when I said, "You know what, I think we have enough. Let's take this to the police now."

Lieutenant Mike Atkins works for the Precinct Three Constable's Office in Montgomery County, Texas.

Lt. Mike Atkins: I got a call on a Sunday. We had a -- individual claiming that -- there was a murder-for-hire against him.

Peter Van Sant: How unusual was that?

Lt. Mike Atkins: It's extremely unusual. It's the first one of my career.

Impressed with the amateur sting, the professionals were now ready to take over.  But they needed a streetwise rookie in their corner -- Mundo.

Lt. Mike Atkins: It was important that we not change the investigation; we not change or move Mundo out of the situation. Because that might bring alarms.

Mundo kept stringing Lulu along, assuring her he was trying to "get things done as soon as possible. Finally, he let her know "everything is a go" for a meeting on July 20 with the hit man, who was really an undercover agent.

Ramon Sosa: He looked like he could be bad guy in -- in a movie. …I said, "Hey, this the man that's supposed to kill you."

Lulu agreed to a night meeting in a parking lot not far from the gym. She brought along several watches and jewelry as a down payment. Lulu then went to an ATM machine and withdrew $500, which she brought back to the parking lot to seal the deal.

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Investigatorsc say Lulu Sosa  went to an ATM and withdrew $500, which she brought back to the parking lot to seal the deal.

Montgomery County Constable's Office

Peter Van Sant: When someone in a murder-for-hire case actually pays some money, have they crossed a threshold?

Lt. Mike Atkins: They have. It shows the level of intent. It shows the fact -- that they are serious and that it's -- it's come to a point where you can't turn back.

Police had enough to arrest Lulu right there and then. But they had concerns; namely, Lulu's claims of Ramon's abuse.

Ramon Sosa: Lulu has never had any problems with the law, she's a beautiful lady, a mother… we don't wanna go to -- to a jury trial and have one of the jurors feel sorry for her.

And so police told Ramon what they needed to do next.

Ramon Sosa: "We're planning to take a picture of you -- dead."

PLAYING DEAD

For Ramon Sosa, the police sting to bring down Lulu seemed to be taking a cue from "Witchcraft," the first song they ever danced to. One of the lyrics: "You want to send me to my cold tomb."

Ramon Sosa: Yeah, we wanna take a picture of you dead. You know, like in a grave. And we're gonna show it to her to show proof that the hit man did the job.

Lt. Mike Atkins:  He was kind of dumbstruck. But then as it was explained to him, he was well onboard.

In order to get Ramon camera-ready, police first had to consult some experts.

Lt. Mike Atkins:  Being a bunch of middle-aged men, we don't, you know, we're not exactly versed on applying makeup. So naturally we went to YouTube and learned how to apply makeup from -- from teenage girls [laughs].

But they also had some deadly examples to follow.

Lt. Mike Atkins: Luckily we had no shortage of crime scene photos to -- to use as references.

Ramon Sosa: The assistant D.A. was there and he brought out some pictures of actual dead people. People with bullet holes through their head. …They picked out the one that they thought that was gonna be the best one.

Peter Van Sant: And they showed you that picture?

Ramon Sosa: Yeah, I was horrified.

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Ramon Sosa, center, with Peter Van Sant, left and Lt. Atkins, at the "dig site" where Atkins and his team staged Sosa's death and took photos.

CBS News

Next, they had to find Ramon a grave.

Lt. Mike Atkins: Luckily for us the county owned a right-of-way … that would give us the privacy that we needed.

Peter Van Sant: What is going through you mind?

Ramon Sosa: Well I didn't really know what it was going to look like. …At this point I already had the makeup, they had already started with the bullet hole.

The final touch: fake blood.

Ramon Sosa: And they told me that once we got to the site, they were going to put more blood on me.

Lt. Mike Atkins: This is it. Ramon's final resting place.  

Peter Van Sant: So where were you lying in this grave?

Ramon Sosa: My head was there in that corner right there. …It looked like I had my hands tied. … They even threw dirt on my – on -- on my head. …It looked like a movie scene honestly.

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"I saw myself in the grave, dead," Ramon Sosa says of photos taken of him. "Literally, I was supposed to be dead. I'm the only person alive that has ever walked out of his own grave."

Montgomery County Constable's Office

Peter Van Sant: Was it emotional for you to be in here?

Ramon Sosa: Yes, very emotional. …It was hot. It was -- scary. It was -- it was just a feeling of -- of thoughts of, "You know, I can't believe this, what I'm doing. I cannot believe what I'm doing." …This is what Lulu wanted, right here. This is what she wanted.

Lt. Mike Atkins: Now it's time to show Lulu that this is done and it's -- it's time to get paid.

So a second meeting was arranged between Lulu and the hit man in the same parking lot. But this time, it was all caught on camera. It's July 23, 2015:

[Translated from Spanish]

UNDERCOVER AGENT: So? How pretty. Where are you going?

LULU SOSA: My home.

UNDERCOVER AGENT:  It's done. Everything good. We got him today, this morning.

LULU SOSA: Where was it? Tell me.

UNDERCOVER AGENT: Heading out. Heading out from the apartments.

LULU SOSA: Of the apartments?

UNDERCOVER AGENT: Going to work.

LULU SOSA: That's good then.

Lulu then pays him:

LULU SOSA [handing money to the undercover detective]:  I have … umm… I have a thousand.

sosa-lulu-body.jpg

Lulu Sosa is shown the photo of Ramon, who appears to be dead, lying in a grave. 

Montgomery County Constable's Office

Lulu is shown the photo of Ramon, dead in a grave.  She is quiet as she stares at the picture:

UNDERCOVER DETECTIVE: The dumbass fought.

LULU SOSA: He fought?

UNDERCOVER AGENT: He fought. [Lulu laughs.]

Lt. Mike Atkins: She starts laughing.

Peter Van Sant: No shock at all.

Lt. Mike Atkins: No shock.

Peter Van Sant: What does that tell you about Lulu?

Lt. Mike Atkins: She's a pretty cold character.

The undercover detective and Lulu discuss the remaining payment – all told, $3,000 in cash, watches, jewelry and Ramon's white pickup truck. Then, Lulu is given more details of her husband's final moments:

UNDERCOVER AGENT: Ramon asked: "What's going on?"

LULU SOSA: For his children …

UNDERCOVER AGENT: "Don't kill me," "Don't f--k me up," "Why are you doing this to me?"

LULU SOSA: Stupid. For hitting me, dumbass.

Lulu maintains she was the victim here:

UNDERCOVER DETECTIVE: He would hit you?

LULU SOSA: Yes. Very disgraceful.

The reality of Ramon's death continues to sink in and Lulu's mood appears to lift:

LULU SOSA [to undercover cop]: He won't wake up anymore. [Laughs]

Ramon Sosa: She was happy, she even made a comment to the hit man, she asked him if I was dead, if I was not gonna get up.

Peter Van Sant: Like a joke? 

Ramon Sosa: Yeah. She wanted to make sure that I was dead. She made gestures with her hand -- like, you know, raising the roof.

Little did Lulu know that her roof was about to come crashing down. The next morning, police come to the gym -- and it's not for a workout.

Lt. Mike Atkins: We want to come and say, you know, "Hey, we're inquiring about your husband that's been missing." And we wanna get her reaction.

Wearing body cameras, police make it seem like they're stopping in to do a wellness check on Ramon:

[Lulu shakes the detective's hand]

DETECTIVE: Is there somewhere we can talk in private?

LULU SOSA: Sure.

DETECTIVE: Apparently, Mr. Sosa hasn't been to work today.

Lulu claims she has no idea where Ramon might be:

LULU SOSA: I haven't seen him. I haven't talked to him. We're going through a divorce.

DETECTIVE: When's the last time you saw Mr. Sosa?

LULU SOSA: We saw him on Wednesday, the 15th. That's the last time I saw him, my mom and my daughter.

Peter Van Sant [watching the arrest video]: Lulu seems pretty relaxed.

Lt. Mike Atkins: She does. …She knows that sooner or later the police are gonna come, either to say he's missing or they found his body.

Ramon Sosa: Remember, the night before she had seen this picture, she was all happy. She was all giggles and happy that -- to see me dead. And now she was acting concerned in front of the cops.

DETECTIVE: So he hasn't contacted you in the last 24 hours?

LULU SOSA: No, no.

Police let Lulu's performance go on a few minutes longer, then lower the boom:

DETECTIVE:  OK, Ms. Sosa. Stand up please. You're under arrest. You're under arrest.

LULU SOSA: Why?

Back at the constable's office, Lulu, in handcuffs, is already taking issue with how she was arrested.

LULU SOSA [translated]: The rights should have been read before they handcuffed me...

OFFICER [translating]: She says you were supposed to read her her rights before we put handcuffs on her.

DETECTIVE: OK, well, you can tell her that's incorrect, if you'd like.

OFFICER [in Spanish to Lulu]: That's not correct.

Prior to her interview, Lulu is read her rights and refuses to speak without a lawyer.

lulu-booking.jpg

Lulu Sosa was arrested and charged with solicitation of capital murder

Montgomery County Constable's Office

Lulu is charged with solicitation of capital murder.  It's an injustice, says her divorce lawyer, Julio Joglar.

Julio Joglar: I think that Ramon Sosa is someone that was very violent to his wife. …And I think that the constant hammering, the constant violence, the constant behavior towards his wife made his wife fear him.

Julio Joglar: I believe that that's what forced her at the end to make a decision that otherwise she'd have never made.

The question now: will a jury believes Lulu's claims of abuse? 

THE FINAL ROUND

Peter Van Sant: Here lies Ramon Sosa, right?

Ramon Sosa: Yes, sir. … It's like a scene from -- from a movie where -- where they kill these guys and just, you know -- and just dig up a hole anywhere and – and -- and put 'em away. Very scary.

For three days, Ramon Sosa had to play the part of a dead man.

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 "I would have never thought that anyone would want to kill me," says Ramon Sosa. 

CBS News

Ramon Sosa: Nobody knew where I was. Even my family -- everybody was looking for me … I was very, very upset … rage and sadness, all the emotions came through me.

Following Lulu's arrest on July 23, 2015, Ramon faced the unimaginable task of telling his children that their stepmother had tried to kill him.

Mia Sosa: I had just got off of a shift from working at a comedy club. … And it was late, you know, I didn't expect my brother to be sitting on my bed. …You can just feel something was wrong.

Mia's brother handed her the phone. Her father was on the line.

Mia Sosa: And he says, very low … "Mia, I'm OK." And I said, "What -- what are you talkin' about?" And he says, "I'm OK. I'm somewhere safe. But Lulu tried to have someone kill me." …And at this point … you don't hear anything. …I didn't know what to do with myself except cry. …I remember sliding on the back of the wall, down to the ground, and huddled into my knees crying my eyes out.

Now Ramon had a new fight on his hands – defending his reputation.

Ramon Sosa:  That was what hurt me so much. …she has so many people believe all this stuff that I had … put my hands on her? That I was an alcoholic, that I hit her son.  …This is how psycho this person was.

And would Lulu use these allegations as part of her own defense?  

Peter Van Sant: Give me a sense how strong now is your case against Lulu Sosa?

Lt. Mike Atkins: We think it was -- a very strong case. …We had our video. We had a down payment. We had a confirmation to her that the murder had taken place.

Peter Van Sant: So you've got her.

Lt. Mike Atkins: We got her.

As Lulu awaited trial, that assault charge against Ramon was dismissed. And Lulu agreed to a divorce settlement that handed Ramon the gym and the house.

Ramon Sosa: She gave it all up.

After 15 months in jail awaiting trial on the murder-for-hire charges, Lulu gave up the fight. In October 2016, as Ramon looked on, she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree solicitation of murder -- avoiding trial and a possible life sentence.

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In October 2016, Lulu Sosa  pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree solicitation of murder, avoiding trial and a possible life sentence.

Univision

Ramon Sosa:  She came here with an American dream. And she got her American dream quick. And to lose everything the way she did, it's sad.

Lulu was given 20 years in prison.

Peter Van Sant: Is 20 years enough?                       

Ramon Sosa: I don't think so. But I'm happy that it's over with … I'll take it.

Beth Blair | Friend of the Sosas: I was just shocked that trying to hire somebody to kill her husband, that that's really all she got was 20 years.

Mia Sosa: Personally, because that's my father, I want you away forever. I don't want you to come out.

Not everyone agrees.

Peter Van Sant: Was that justice, in your opinion?

Julio Joglar | Lulu's divorce attorney:  My opinion, no.

Peter Van Sant: Because?

Julio Joglar: Because nobody got to hear her side … Many times, I saw her crying. I felt her desperation.

Ramon says the ordeal has left scars.

Peter Van Sant: Are you haunted by this?               

Ramon Sosa: I will never be the same person ever again.  …I call my kids as much as possible … It might be the last day I -- say that I love 'em.

Ramon's near death experience has changed him. Mia is now back in Texas, having patched up their relationship after Lulu drove them apart.

Mia Sosa: It's been a really good outcome for me, and for him. …You're gonna get knocked out sometimes.  …you're gonna get up, you're gonna take the loss, and you're gonna try harder, and get a win.

Ramon is now a sought after speaker, telling his incredible story of survival. This past July, he shared that journey to an appreciative audience in London.

The man who Lulu thought would help kill her husband is now an author. Mundo has written a book about his experience, "My Son Mundo."

Peter Van Sant:  If Lulu is watching this broadcast, is there anything you would want to say to her?

Mundo: Redeem yourself … You don't have to be what everybody tells you you are, you kow. Everybody used to tell me I was somethin' else. I proved everybody wrong. So, you could do the same.

Today, Ramon wears a precious reminder of how his time on earth almost ran out.

Peter Van Sant: Tell me about the watch that's on your left wrist there.  

Ramon Sosa: She … told Mundo that … when they kill me, to make sure to take my watch … That is why I wear it all the time now.

Peter Van Sant: I think she ended up picking the wrong man to victimize, don't you?

Ramon Sosa: Yeah-- yeah.  …I stayed til the last minute of the last round, she had me on the ropes. And she had no idea that the whole time, I had a plan too.

Lulu Sosa comes up for parole once a year.

On Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, she was denied parole for a second time.

  • Peter Van Sant

    Correspondent, "48 Hours"