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Murder charge filed in Bailey Nurseries employee stabbing

Police tape blocked entrance to Bailey Nurseries late Thursday after a stabbing left one person dead. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)1 / 2
Police are stationed at the entrance to Bailey Nurseries in Newport on Thursday after one person was stabbed. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)2 / 2

A St. Paul man who reportedly “hated” one of his co-workers brought a knife to his Bailey Nurseries jobsite and stabbed the man to death, according to a criminal charge filed Friday.

Washington County prosecutors charged Gregorio Maso-Maso-Ramirez, 57, with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of Uriel N. Ortiz, 44, on Thursday at the Newport nursery.

According to the criminal complaint:

Maso-Ramirez had a conversation Thursday afternoon with a Bailey employee about a worker’s compensation claim he planned to file. That employee later told investigators that she knew Maso-Ramirez “hated” Ortiz.

After police responded to a 911 call at about 3:40 p.m., they found Ortiz in a pool of blood and unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another Bailey employee told a police officer he saw Maso-Ramirez talking to Ortiz in the lunchroom. Maso-Ramirez asked Ortiz for a ride home but Ortiz declined. The witness left the lunchroom for a few minutes and when he returned he saw Ortiz bleeding on the floor, the complaint said. Maso-Ramirez had left.

A third employee said Maso-Ramirez walked by her on his way out and he looked angry and was wrapping one of his arms with his jacket.

An investigator received information from someone who said he picked up Maso-Ramirez from the nursery and drove him to his St. Paul apartment. Police went to the apartment and saw blood leading up the stairs to Maso-Ramirez’s apartment. They retrieved a cellphone, two knives and a note written in Spanish.

As police were applying for a search warrant, they learned that Maso-Ramirez had turned himself in to St. Paul police. He had a large cut on his right hand and was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. After he was treated authorities took him to the Washington County jail.

In an interview with investigators, Maso-Ramirez said he brought a knife to work with plans to “do something” to Ortiz. Maso-Ramirez admitted to stabbing Ortiz, the complaint said.

A knife matching the description given by Maso-Ramirez was found about four to six blocks from his St. Paul apartment. Police said it appeared to have blood on the blade.

Maso-Ramirez was booked into the jail. He is charged with second-degree murder with intent but not premeditation. The felony carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

Bailey Nurseries issued a statement Friday saying that Ortiz was a father, husband, friend and co-worker. Ortiz lived in Fridley.

“He will be remembered by our family of employees at Bailey Nurseries as a hard-working and dedicated employee and family man,” the statement said.  

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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