- Date of Crime: 2007-01-21
- Location of crime:
- Hometown: Minocqua, WI
- Sex: F
- Age: 23
Irvin Mauricio Ramirez
- Sex: M
- Arrest Status: convicted
On January 21, 2007, Danielle Gorectke, 23,was sexually assaulted, beaten, and murdered by illegal alien Irvin Mauricio Ramirez in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Gorectke, a Minocqua WI native and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student, was in La Crosse visiting her sister Michelle Gorectke who attends Viterbo University. The two sisters became separated at a downtown bar about 2 a.m..
According to police reports, Michelle Gorectke called police just before 6 a.m. to report she and her sister had become separated and her sister was missing. Michelle Gorectke said she was concerned about her sister and said it was out of the ordinary for the two to get separated while out.
Two hours later, Gorectke's battered body was found hours later by a snowplow driver clearing the parking lot before Sunday morning services at Christ Covenant Church.
Sgt. Marco of the City of Lacrosse Police Dept. states that on 1/21/07, police were called to Christ Covenant Church in Lacrosse where they found Danielle Gorectke lying face down in the snow at the bottom of the stairs entering the church. She was naked from the waist down, and blood was present near her body. The police later discovered she had multiple contusions and lacerations to her head, and her upper lip appeared to have been partially torn off.
A few hours earlier, the LaCrescent Minnesota Police Department had been called to a gas station for a possible intoxicated driver. Upon arrival they found the Ramirez arguing with the store clerk and noticed he had a large amount of blood on his face, coat, and hands. When asked, the suspect could not say where the blood came from. The suspect was arrested for OWI and his breathalyzer result was .14 BAC. The arresting Officer searched his vehicle and found a credit card and driver’s license of Danielle Gorectke D.G. in the Ramirez’s vehicle.
Ramirez did not have a driver’s license, according to La Crescent police, but gave the officer a Wisconsin identification card that listed a former Onalaska residence.
Ramirez, who is relatively new to the La Crosse area, was charged in Minnesota with driving under the influence. He was latter extradited to La Crosse County where he was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, attempted second-degree sexual assault and robbery.
During the extradition hearing, Ramirez showed no emotion during the hearing or while being questioned by Houston County Judge James Fabian on whether he understood the Wisconsin charges, extradition process and his rights. Speaking through an interpreter, Ramirez told Fabian he was prepared to return to Wisconsin to face a first-degree intentional homicide charge. I know the police officers there are looking for me, so I may as well go back to Wisconsin,” Ramirez said.
In the trial, investigators stated that they found Gorectke's DNA and blood in Ramirez's car and on his clothing and body, La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke said during his opening statement. They also saw him lick blood from his fingers while he was in custody, Gruenke said.
The autopsy on Michelle Gorectke showed extensive injuries to her head, face, neck and brain, Gruenke said. Her left ear and part of her lip was partially torn off.
In his closing arguments, D.A. Tim Gruenke accused Ramirez of trying to rape Gorectke, stomping on her, slamming her head against a step by her ears and biting off a piece of her lip before urinating on her and stealing her purse.
A jury found Ramirez guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted second-degree sexual assault. The jury acquitted him of a charge that he robbed the woman. Ramirez faces life in prison. He will be sentenced some time in early 2008. At that time, the judge may set a future date for him to be eligible for parole or deny any chance of parole for the sexual assault and murder of a 23 year old college student.
Ramirez is in the U.S. illegally, and he had a forged Wisconsin identification card, but Gruenke said it appears he will not face deportation until he serves his sentence.
The quick verdict was "bittersweet" for the victim's family, said her uncle John Weger of Elroy. It won't lessen the pain of her brutal, random death, but it will let her family take another step toward closure, he said.
Dorothe Coates knew Danielle for fifteen years while working for her father at his Dental Clinic in Woodruff. Coates says, "She was great. She had a lot to look forward to. She was going to school to be a speech pathologist."
Documentation:Circuit Court of La Crosse County
Criminal Complaint, Case # 07CF56
22JAN07, La Crosse Tribune, Wisconsin
Slain Woman Found at Church; Police Arrest Bloody Onalaska Man After Drunken Driving Stop, by Dan Springer
23JAN07, La Crosse Tribune, Wisconsin
Slaying suspect back in La Crosse, by Dan Springer
31JAN07, University of Wisconsin –La Cross Racquet
UW- Stevens Point student found dead in La Crosse, by Jennifer Dubert-Bellrichard
27NOV07, WCCO, Wisconsin
DA: Man Licked Blood From Fingers After Murder, an AP story
30NOV07, WCCO Wisconsin
Jury Returns Guilty Verdict In Student Murder Case, an AP Story