Update: Marquardt receives death sentence in Florida slayings

2012-02-29T00:15:00Z 2015-01-23T08:40:42Z Update: Marquardt receives death sentence in Florida slayingsBy MILLARD K. IVES Daily Commercial and THE HERALD Chippewa Herald

BUSHNELL, Fla. – A Sumter (Fla.) County judge Tuesday afternoon handed the death penalty to Bill Paul Marquardt, 36, a paranoid schizophrenic formerly of Chippewa Falls who was found guilty in October in the murder of two women.

Judge William Hallman called the 2000 double murder in which Marquardt shot his way in the women’s Tarrytown home before shooting and stabbing them both to death, “heinous, atrocious and cruel” and “cold, calculated and premeditated.”

He said that the Margarita Ruiz, 72, and her daughter Esperanza Wells, 42, suffered a great deal of pain and knew they were dying. Hallman added the women’s terror was heightened by the fear that Marquardt would next attack Ruiz’s 1- and 3-year-old grandchildren, who were apparently hiding under a dining room table during the killings.

The story of Bill Marquardt is not yet over. There will be automatic appeals and a carrying out of the sentence is years away. However, it brings into the final stages a story that began in March 2000 with the murder of Marquardt’s mother, Mary Jane Marquardt. He was charged with that murder, but found not competent to stand trial. Meanwhile, he was charged in Eau Claire County with armed burglary and cruelty to animals and ultimately convicted in that case.

However, he was also deemed not guilty by reason of mental disease and was committed for a period of 60 years.

Then he was cleared to stand trial for his mother’s murder, but was acquitted. He was linked to the Florida case by a drop of blood on a knife that contained DNA from two people not connected with the Chippewa County case.

That led to his trial last year, his conviction, and Tuesday’s sentencing.

Ironically, the day went somewhat like Marquardt had wanted.

After the jury found him guilty, Marquardt immediately began to request the death sentence and has done everything in his power to get it.

However, he’s made it clear in court that he wanted the death sentence so his case would be automatically appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

Robert Wells, who was married to Esperanza Wells at the time of the murders, said he had no mixed feeling on Marquardt receiving the sentence he wanted.

“Just as long as he’s off the street for good,” said Wells, outside the courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Dick Price, who was the local lead investigator in the Marquardt case, said he was “absolutely” pleased with the judge’s decision, and had high praise for the people who worked together to gain the conviction that led to the sentence.

“I’m incredibly pleased with Prosecutor Pete Magrino and his ability to do his job,” Price said of the Florida prosecutor who handled the case there. “The State of Florida has been wonderful in this case.”

Price, who traveled to Florida three times after being subpoenaed to testify in the case, emphasized the teamwork that went into gaining the conviction.

“A group of investigators from Wisconsin to Florida worked together to get this conviction,” said Price, who had special praise for the Sumter County, Florida Sheriff’s Department.

Current Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk echoed Price’s praise of the level of cooperation in the case.

“It’s been long forthcoming,” Kowalczyk said of a resolution to the case. “I have to give credit to (Eau Claire County) Judge Jon Theisen, the former DA of Chippewa County, who opened this case up and went beyond the call of duty.”

Theisen, after losing the trial on the murder of Marquardt’s mother, researched unsolved cases to find a link with the unknown blood on Marquardt’s knife. His effort led to further investigation of Marquardt’s role in the Ruiz/Wells murders.

“We were very frustrated. We thought we had a solid case. We were very confident in what we put together,” Kowalczyk said of the acquittal in the Mary Jane Marquardt murder.

But because of the Florida case, justice ultimately prevailed, Kowalczyk said.

Although Price is pleased with the sentence, he knows that it will not be easy for everyone.

“I feel bad for Bill’s family. It has to be difficult for them,” he said.

Marquardt’s execution, if it comes to pass, is a long ways off. The average stay on death row in Florida is nearly 13 years, according to that state’s Department of Corrections.

Magrino in October 2011 noted that the state had only recently executed a man who was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1976.

But Marquardt will have years in prison on death row ahead of him. He will serve his time in a 6-by-9-by-9.5 feet cell. He will have to wear handcuffs everywhere in the prison except for his cell, the exercise yard and in the shower.

 

Here is an earlier version of this story:

BUSHNELL, Fla. – A Sumter (Fla.) County judge Tuesday afternoon handed the death penalty to Bill Paul Marquardt, 36, a paranoid schizophrenic formerly of Chippewa Falls who was found guilty in October in the murder of two women.

Judge William Hallman called the 2000 double murder in which Marquardt shot his way in the women¹s Tarrytown home before shooting and stabbing them both to death, “heinous, atrocious and cruel” and “cold, calculated and premeditated.”

He said that the Margarita Ruiz, 72, and her daughter Esperanza Wells, 42, suffered a great deal of pain and knew they were dying. Hallman added the women’s terror was heightened by the fear that Marquardt would next attack Ruiz’s 1- and 3-year-old grandchildren, who were apparently hiding under a dining room table during the killings.

Ironically, the day went someway like Marquardt had wanted.

After the jury found him guilty in the murders last year, Marquardt immediately began to request the death sentence and has done everything in his power to get it.

However, he’s made it clear in court that he wanted to the death sentence so his case would be automatically appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

Robert Wells, who was married to Esperanza Wells at the time of the murders, said he had no mixed feeling on Marquardt receiving the sentence he wanted.

“Just as long as he’s off the street for good,” said Wells, outside the courthouse this afternoon.

Marquardt was acquited of the March 2000 slaying of his mother in the town of Eagle Point. He was later linked to the Florida murders through an investigation by former Chippewa County District Attorney Jon Theisen, who is now a judge in Eau Claire County.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Herald.

Copyright 2015 Chippewa Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. old timer
    Report Abuse
    old timer - February 29, 2012 6:06 am
    TOA, Ya, I have to agree on your comment.
  2. ECresident
    Report Abuse
    ECresident - February 28, 2012 6:29 pm
    We can say Good, but, I wouldnt hold my breath this actually takes place. According to news in FL., his mental health issues were NOT allowed in court, but, Im sure they will during the appeals process.
  3. old timer
    Report Abuse
    old timer - February 28, 2012 4:52 pm
    Good! Now it's on to the Appeals Court System where his fantasy game can continue, right up till it's time pay the piper. Maybe he should have fessed up down there about his mother in an effort for life in prison instead?
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Follow The Chippewa Herald

Search local business directory

Hint: Enter a keyword that you are looking for like tires, pizza or doctors or browse the full business directory.







Deals, Offers and Events

Poll

Loading…

What is your reaction to the Boy Scouts of America accepting gay troop leaders?

View Results

Featured Businesses