Father gets 36-year sentence in Cottage Grove baby's murder
STILLWATER, Minn.—Angel Daniel Ramirez of Cottage Grove acted with particular cruelty as he fatally assaulted his 13-month-old daughter, a judge concluded when sentencing Ramirez to 36 years.
“You just left her there to die after inflicting severe injuries on her,” Judge John McBride told Ramirez, 21, Thursday in Washington County District Court.
Ramirez’s sentence was four years shy of the maximum 40-year imprisonment allowed for his second-degree unintentional murder conviction. The 432-month sentence was reached in a plea deal in September. A grand jury indicted him on two counts of first-degree murder, charges dismissed following the plea deal and sentencing.
Ramirez’s sentencing came more than two years after his daughter Amelia’s March 2014 death at a Cottage Grove home he was sharing with the girl’s mother, Beatriz Alvarado.
Alvarado told authorities she found her baby unresponsive one morning after Ramirez had left for work. Ramirez later admitted to authorities that he was upset with Alvarado the night before and punched their daughter in her abdomen and the back of her head while she was in her crib.
The investigation also found Ramirez had repeatedly assaulted their daughter. He threw a cup at her that damaged her eye. He ripped the hair of a pony tail out of her scalp. He prevented Alvarado from taking their daughter to the hospital for the eye injury, according to court records.
The autopsy found extensive surface bruising on Amelia’s head, deep bruising and evidence of bleeding in her brain. She had other internal injuries consistent with repeated abuse.
“This child wasn’t just struck once,” McBride said. “This child was beaten to death.”
Prior to sentencing, victim impact statements were read on behalf of Alvarado and her mother, Amelia’s grandmother. They talked of the loss felt by a first-time parent and of the pain of preparing for the girl’s funeral instead of looking ahead to her second birthday.
“Today is the day we get justice for Amelia,” Alvarado’s statement read.
After the hearing, Alvarado said she was satisfied with the sentencing, though she wished Ramirez received more time.
“I’m just happy with the whole outcome of it,” Alvarado said in an interview.
The 21-year-old mother said she’ll remember Amelia as a perfect child who loved to dance and learn words.
“She never cried, she never gave me a hard time,” she said. “She loved to play.”
The hearing was emotional as Alvarado and her relatives cried on one side of the courtroom. Two people seated with Ramirez’s family were ordered to leave, including one woman who stood and swore at Alvarado.
The 36-year sentence reached through a plea deal was a significant upward departure from state sentencing guidelines. McBride agreed to the plea terms because he agreed it’d been proven beyond a reasonable doubt the case met aggravating factors that the baby was particularly vulnerable, and Ramirez acted with particular cruelty.
Ramirez was ordered to spend a minimum of 24 years in prison and another 12 in supervised release.
Asked if he wanted to say anything prior to sentencing, Ramirez only responded: “No comment.”