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“These shackles don’t make me guilty:” Daniel Bartelt sentenced to life in prison, no chance for parole

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WASHINGTON CO. (WITI) -- Life in prison with no chance for parole. That's the sentence handed down by a Washington County judge Tuesday, October 14th for Daniel Bartelt -- found guilty of first-degree homicide in the death of 19-year-old Jessie Blodgett. A prosecutor described Bartelt as the most dangerous criminal he has ever met, and now, the young man will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The judge could have set a date for when Bartelt would be eligible for parole -- but the judge instead decided Daniel Bartelt will never leave prison.

Jessie Blodgett

Jessie Blodgett

A prosecutor described Bartelt as a psychopath. Others described him as narcissistic. Yet Jessie Blodgett's father was able to look at his daughter's killer and tell him this:

"Dan, I forgive you as I have every single day. I believe there is good and bad in each of us, so I don't demonize or vilify you," Blodgett's father, Buck Blodgett said.

Jessie Blodgett was found dead inside her home on July 15th. Blodgett and Bartelt have been described as friends and classmates. They even recorded music together.

On July 15th, 2013, a new student came to Blodgett’s home for a piano lesson around 12:30 p.m. Blodgett’s mother called for her daughter — but after getting no response, she went to Blodgett’s bedroom and discovered her daughter was dead.

Blodgett’s mother tried to revive her using CPR — and noticed something on her daughter’s neck.

In court during Bartelt's trial, the 911 call made by Blodgett’s mother was played.

Blodgett’s mother: “It looks like strangulation marks.”

Dispatcher: “There are strangulation marks?”

Blodgett’s mother: “That’s what it looks like. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Investigators discovered what they believe were the signs of murder tossed in a trash can in a park. They also discovered articles about serial killers on Bartelt’s computer.

During his sentencing hearing, Bartelt looked directly at Blodgett's family members, and denied killing her.

"Buck, Joy -- I can't give you the reasons you are looking for. There's no hiding from yourself in a tiny, concrete cell. This jumpsuit that I'm wearing, these shackles don't make me guilty. I know there's evidence that I can't refute that would make you believe that I am guilty," Bartelt said.

"It's horribly sad -- for his life, for his mom and dad, for Jessie and my family -- for everybody involved. It's a terrible, terrible tragedy all the way around.

The judge admonished Bartelt during his sentencing hearing for not giving Blodgett's family, at this point, the one thing they wanted: an apology.

Bartelt faced four felony charges in the case: two counts of first degree intentional homicide, one count of first degree recklessly endangering safety and one count of false imprisonment.

One count of first degree intentional homicide was related to the death of Blodgett. The other three charges are related to an alleged attack at a Richfield Park on July 12th.

Jurors in this case deliberated for about three hours following a week-long trial that included details of the crime scene. Those details indicated that climbing rope was used to strangle Blodgett in her bedroom.

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  • Jenna

    The problem with our country is that color matters. Who cares if he is white? It shouldnt be any different if he were black. Or brown, or yellow, or red, or any other color. I feel sorry for Jessie’s family – not forgiving him wouldnt bring her back, and living with that anger and hatred would only make their pain worse.

  • Megan

    Buck Blodgett is an amazing and caring individual. His Love>hate project proves that. You cannot believe the strength that man has.

    • Chris

      He’s far more forgiving than I would be given the circumstances. The fact that Bartelt continues to deny his guilt despite the evidence means that he also has no remorse for his crimes.

  • Anonymous

    Now that this is finally over I’d like to come forth and say I knew Dan personally. I worked with him for just about 3 years and in that time I knew him and was friends with him, I never thought he would haven been capable of something as horrifying as this. I can’t defend what he did and I’m glad he was found guilty and received a life sentence. He destroyed not one, but two, very promising lives that day. What scares me is the entire time I knew him, he could have been plotting, or resisting the urge to kill someone. You never truly know someone until you’ve seen their bad side.
    I continue to pray for both the Blodgett family, and Dan’s family as well. Mr. and Mrs. Bartelt, if you are reading this, please know it is not your fault for what happened. You are NOT responsible for your grown son’s actions! Please stay strong! And for the Blodgetts, may you finally find peace knowing justice is served. I did not know Jessie, but from my friends who did, they told me she was one hell of a person and daughter. I am truly sorry for your loss!

    • Anonymous

      His mom is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. His sister was always a freaking weirdo too. I knew Dan for 7 years and honestly..him doing this really did not shock me. It’s unfortunate, it really is. I have never met Jessie, but I feel for her and wish her happiness in her next life and healing for her family at this time.

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