Tensions ran high in a Washington County courtroom on Thursday when two families converged for the sentencing of a 21-year-old man convicted of viciously beating his baby daughter to death.
Angel Daniel Ramirez was sent to prison for 36 years after an emotional statement from the girl’s mother was read, and after deputies forcibly removed a woman who began yelling at prosecutor Karin McCarthy.
“No comment,” Ramirez said when Judge John McBride asked him if he wanted to say anything about his crime.
“This child was beaten to death, multiple times,” McBride said. “You just left her there to die after inflicting severe injuries on her.”
Ramirez pleaded guilty in September to second-degree murder without intent.
Court records show that on the morning of March 15, 2014, police were called to a house on S. 84th Street in Cottage Grove, where they found 13-month-old Amelia lying on the kitchen floor. She was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Ramirez sent a message to the mother five months later in which he admitted hurting the girl.
“Okay, I did it. I beat Amelia. I blacked out and I beat her. I don’t remember how,” he wrote.
The girl’s mother had started noticing injuries a few days before Amelia’s death, but Ramirez wouldn’t allow her to take their daughter for medical attention.
An autopsy showed swelling of the brain, internal bleeding and bruises on the back of the girl’s head and both sides of her jaw. Blood was found on her clothes, blanket and crib.
Ramirez admitted to punching her in the stomach and head, dropping her off the bed on her head, throwing a bottle that hit her in the eye, and pulling her ponytail so hard that her hair came out.
“He stated that he did not know his own strength,” the complaint said.
Dr. Michael McGee, Ramsey County medical examiner, concluded that Amelia died of “blunt force traumatic injuries” inflicted over time.
On Thursday, McBride warned spectators that he was aware of tension in the courtroom and expected everyone to show restraint.
That didn’t last long, as a woman sitting near Ramirez stood and began yelling as McCarthy was making a case for a strict sentence. “Get your hands off me,” the woman told a deputy before she was restrained and hurried out of the courtroom.
McBride ordered a second woman removed when she raised her hand in an attempt to speak while he was pronouncing the sentence.
Ramirez will spend at least 24 years in prison before he is eligible for supervised probation. McBride ruled that Ramirez committed the crime with particular cruelty.
The girl’s mother, Beatriz Alvarado, spoke of coping with her daughter’s death.
“After losing Amelia, I have a hard time believing anything is real anymore,” she said in a statement read in court on her behalf. “Today is the day that Amelia can rest.”
After the hearing, County Attorney Pete Orput said the brutality of the crime would shock most people.
“This poor baby girl was given no chance to live her life, by her own father nonetheless,” he said. “Acts like this tear at the very core of all of us. Our children are this country’s most valuable resource.”