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College drop-out, 20, sentenced to life in prison after raping and strangling to death aspiring actress, 19, with a climbing rope

  • Daniel Bartelt crept into 19-year-old Jessie Blodgett’s Wisconsin home
  • Then tied her up and raped her before strangling her with climbing rope
  • Aspiring actress’s body was discovered on bed by her horrified mother 
  • In August, Bartelt convicted by jury of first-degree intentional homicide
  • Today, 20-year-old sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole
  • Bartelt, former friend of Blodgett, dropped out of University of Wisconsin

By

Sophie Jane Evans for MailOnline


Published:
20:21 EST, 14 October 2014

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Updated:
20:27 EST, 14 October 2014

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A 20-year-old college drop-out has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after strangling to death a 19-year-old aspiring actress with a climbing rope.

Daniel Bartelt, of Washington County, Wisconsin, sneaked into Jessie Blodgett’s bedroom after she returned from a cast party for a production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in the early hours of the morning.

As she slept, he launched a brutal attack on his former high school friend, tying her up and raping her, before fatally strangling her with a climbing rope.

Miss Blodgett’s body was discovered by her horrified mother later that day. An autopsy ruled the teenager had died from strangulation, with clear ligature marks on her neck and arm.

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Homicide: Daniel Bartelt (right), of Washington County, Wisconsin, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after strangling to death aspiring actress Jessie Blodgett (left), 19, with a climbing rope
Homicide: Daniel Bartelt (right), of Washington County, Wisconsin, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after strangling to death aspiring actress Jessie Blodgett (left), 19, with a climbing rope

Homicide: Daniel Bartelt (right), of Washington County, Wisconsin, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after strangling to death aspiring actress Jessie Blodgett (left), 19, with a climbing rope

In August, a jury took three hours to convict Bartelt of first-degree intentional homicide. His DNA was found on items used in the murder, including a roll of tape under Miss Blodgett’s bed.

Now, Bartelt has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, reported Fox 6

During the sentencing, the district attorney said Bartelt was the most dangerous criminal he has ever met in his 17-year career, while others described him as a psychopath and narcissistic.

But incredibly, Miss Blodgett’s father, Buck, was able to look his daughter’s killer in the eyes and tell him: ‘I forgive you, as I have every single day.’

Sentencing: Bartelt (pictured being led into the court room today) sneaked into Miss Blodgett's bedroom after she returned from a cast party for a production of 'Fiddler on the Roof' in the early hours of the morning

Sentencing: Bartelt (pictured being led into the court room today) sneaked into Miss Blodgett’s bedroom after she returned from a cast party for a production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in the early hours of the morning

Case: As she slept, he launched a brutal attack on his former high school friend, tying her up and raping her, before fatally strangling her with a climbing rope. Above, Bartelt address members of the victim's family

Case: As she slept, he launched a brutal attack on his former high school friend, tying her up and raping her, before fatally strangling her with a climbing rope. Above, Bartelt address members of the victim’s family

Aspiring star: Bartelt and Miss Blodgett (left and right) met while attending Hartford Union High School, where they both acted in school productions. They became friends and even recorded a song together
Aspiring star: Bartelt and Miss Blodgett (left and right) met while attending Hartford Union High School, where they both acted in school productions. They became friends and even recorded a song together

Aspiring star: Bartelt and Miss Blodgett (left and right) met while attending Hartford Union High School, where they both acted in school productions. They became friends and even recorded a song together

The grief-stricken father added: ‘I believe there is good and bad in each of us, so I don’t demonize or vilify you. I not only forgive you, I love you. But I don’t understand what you did.’

Bartelt and Miss Blodgett met while attending Hartford Union High School, where they both acted in school productions. They quickly became friends and even recorded a song together.

They then both went on to study at the University of Wisconsin, but Bartelt dropped out of the Steven’s Point campus after just one semester, returning home depressed.

The last time Miss Blodgett was seen, she was leaving the cast party at around July 15, 2013. That afternoon, a new student came to the family home in Hartford for a piano lesson.

Scene: Miss Blodgett's body was discovered by her horrified mother at their Hartford home (pictured). An autopsy ruled the teenager had died from strangulation, with clear ligature marks on her neck and arm

Scene: Miss Blodgett’s body was discovered by her horrified mother at their Hartford home (pictured). An autopsy ruled the teenager had died from strangulation, with clear ligature marks on her neck and arm

Bedroom: Bartelt sneaked into Miss Blodgett's bedroom (pictured from the outside) before killing her

Bedroom: Bartelt sneaked into Miss Blodgett’s bedroom (pictured from the outside) before killing her

Miss Blodgett’s mother called for her daughter, but after getting no response, she went upstairs, where she discovered the teenager’s body lying on her bed. She tried to revive her with CPR before calling 911. 

During the call, played in court today, Mrs Blodgett told the dispatcher there were marks on her daughter’s body that looked ‘like strangulation marks’.

Behind bars: Bartelt has been jailed for life after being convicted of first-degree intentional homicide

Behind bars: Bartelt has been jailed for life after being convicted of first-degree intentional homicide

The dispatcher responded: ‘There are strangulation marks?’, to which the panicked mother replied: ‘That’s what it looks like. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what’s going on.’

Investigators later discovered that Bartelt had used climbing rope to carry out the murder. 

The rope, along with antiseptic wipes and bloody paper towels, were found dumped in a cereal box in nearby Hartford Park. 

Bartelt’s DNA was also discovered under the victim’s fingernails and in her genital area, suggesting sexual assault. 

‘She’s screaming at us and telling us through her body and through her DNA what happened to her,’ District Attorney Mark Benson said at an earlier court date.

Despite his conviction, Bartelt looked directly at Miss Blodgett’s relatives in court today and denied killing the teenager.

‘This jumpsuit that I’m wearing, these shackles don’t make me guilty,’ he said, adding: ‘I know there’s evidence that I can’t refute that would make you believe that I am guilty.’ 

After Bartlett was led away in handcuffs, Mr Blodgett spoke of the star his daughter was and the dreams that she will now never accomplish, according to TMJ 4. 

But he added: ‘I wish no vengeance or retribution.’

Bartlett also faced charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety and false imprisonment, for a separate assault that took place just three days before Miss Blodgett’s death. 

Devoted father: After Bartlett was led away in handcuffs, Buck Blodgett (pictured) spoke of the star his daughter was and what she will now never accomplish. But he added: 'I wish no vengeance or retribution'

Devoted father: After Bartlett was led away in handcuffs, Buck Blodgett (pictured) spoke of the star his daughter was and what she will now never accomplish. But he added: ‘I wish no vengeance or retribution’

The assault happened in Richfield Park on July 12 when Bartelt attacked a woman just hours after researching serial killers online.

The victim said he tackled her to the ground and she believed she was ‘going to die’ when she luckily wrestled the knife away. 

She held the knife at him and then escaped by driving off in her car. She needed 15 stitches after the incident. Bartelt told police that it was ‘a spur of the moment decision…to scare her’.

 

 

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