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Charges in workplace murder: Defendant "hated" victim

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KSTP reports a St. Paul man is facing second-degree murder charges in the stabbing death of a co-worker at Bailey Nurseries in Newport Thursday.

An investigation concluded Gregorio Ramirez, in his late 50s, was the only person with the victim when he was stabbed.

The victim is Uriel Navarro Ortiz, 44, of Fridley. Family members say he loved the outdoors.

Bailey Nurseries released a statement saying, "it is with great sadness that we can confirm the passing of our fellow employee Uriel Navarro Ortiz. Uriel was a father, husband, friend and co--worker. He will be remembered by our family of employees at Bailey Nurseries as a hard working and dedicated employee and family man."

The Pioneer Press reports the stabbing took place in the company lunchroom. According to the criminal complaint filed in Washington County, another worker told investigators "the defendant hated Ortiz." A witness said he overheard Ramirez offer to drive Ortiz home from work, but Ortiz declined. The witness left the room and returned moments later to find Ortiz lying on the floor bleeding, the complaint said. Ramirez was gone.

Ortiz was declared dead at the scene.

After fleeing to his St. Paul apartment, Ramirez turned himself in to police.

"The complaint said Ramirez admitted bringing a knife to work and stabbing Ortiz.

A police dog helped find the bloody knife a few blocks from Ramirez' home.

He has no apparent criminal record in Minnesota.

His bond is set at $1 million without conditions or half-a-million dollars if he turns in his passport.

The fourth-generation, family owned nursery has main offices and growing fields in Newport, roughly 10 miles southeast of St. Paul. During peak season it employs more than 400 full-time and 1,200 seasonal employees at several operations across the country, its website says. The company also operates nurseries in Illinois and Oregon.

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