Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Alexander James LETKEMANN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: "Thrill Killing" - Beheading
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 7, 2007
Date of arrest: 5 days after
Date of birth: June 21, 1989
Victim profile: Daniel Sorensen, 26
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Status: Sentenced to 20-30 years in prison on April 23, 2008

photo gallery


letter to his parents

public letter


Alexander Letkemann

18 year old Alexander Letkemann was charged along with 17 year old Jean Pierre Orlewicz, in the November, 2007 killing of 26-year-old Daniel Sorensen, in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan.

Update: Letkemann was sentenced to 20-30 years in prison on April 23, 2008. Orlewicz was found guilty of all counts on April 16, 2008. He will be sentenced on May 12, 2008.

An alleged thrill-killing

Sorenson's torso was stabbed 12 times, and his hands and feet were burned with a blowtorch. His head was found nearly 15 miles away. Prosecutors have called the case a "thrill killing" due to the gruesomeness of the crime and the apparent lack of serious motive.

The victim

Sorensen was a registered sex offender due to a statutory rape conviction at age 17. Police say his past had nothing to do with his killing.

Plea deal

Letkemann pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on April 1, 2008, and agreed to testify against Orlewicz. Letkemann's plea was part of a deal to avoid a mandatory life sentence for first-degree murder.

Letkemann denies killing Sorensen

In a videotaped statement to police, Letkemann said Orlewicz killed Sorenson over a $400 debt. He also claimed that he was only there to help clean up after the murder that Orlewicz committed


On April 23, 2008, Letkemann was sentenced to between 20 to 30 years of jail time.


Prosecutor: Teens killed man for thrill

Pair accused in slaying, beheading of River Rouge victim

Doug Guthrie and Paul Egan / The Detroit News

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

CANTON TOWNSHIP -- The tarps were spread in a suburban garage. The hacksaw and kitchen knife were ready. The ambush was set for what prosecutors call a "thrill kill."

Prosecutors say two Wayne County teens with no known record of violence lured a River Rouge bouncer into the garage of one of the teen's grandfathers Wednesday. When the teens were done, cops needed three days to find the last body part and much of Monday to explain a motive.

There was only one, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said: the thrill of killing Daniel Sorensen, 26. She said the information came from one of the teens and perhaps another person, whom she did not identify.

"I've seen every kind of crime, and still, the idea that there are people who would kill just for the thrill of it is bone-chilling," Worthy said at a press conference Monday announcing charges against the teens.

"The evidence that the police have gathered in this case suggests just that."

In jail without bond and facing life in prison, the pair are ordinary suburbanites, friends said.

Jean "Johnny" Pierre Orlewicz, 17, of Plymouth is a senior at Canton High School whose family founded and operates Magnum Manufacturing, a Westland auto parts supplier. Alexander James Letkemann, 18, of Westland plays guitar in bands. He was popular at Churchill High School in Livonia until he dropped out in 2006 after being charged as a minor in possession of alcohol.

Prosecutors say the teens killed Sorensen, cut off his head with a hacksaw, burned his hands and feet with a blowtorch, torched his body and dumped his head into the Rouge River.

Prosecutors and police wouldn't say how the teens knew Sorensen, but acknowledged he owed Orlewicz a small sum of money. That wasn't a motive, Worthy said. Nor was Sorensen's status as a registered sex offender over a 1998 incident in Illinois for having sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 17, Worthy said.

Neighbors such as Geri Kowaczyk described Sorensen as a "good guy" who worked briefly for a landscaper and was "nice to me and everyone."

But he had enemies -- and kept track of them, according to claims in court documents.

Wayne County Circuit Court files indicate Michael D. Martin of Livonia took out a personal protection order against Sorensen in May. Martin, then 20, alleged Sorensen repeatedly threatened his life and the lives of his family.

Martin claimed in the court filing that Sorensen telephoned him day and night and left him voice mails "describing different ways of torturing me to death."

"He carries a 'hit list' in his pocket of girls who have rejected him, and he openly would plot their deaths in front of me. This list contained 20-plus names."

'A normal kid'

Police allege Sorensen died in the Canton Township garage of Orlewicz's 91-year-old grandfather, William Orlewicz. Neighbors say he has dementia and has no idea about the butchery that police claim occurred inside.

"He doesn't know anything, and I just hope that he passes and never knows what happened at his house," said neighbor Sally Walker, 48.

She described Orlewicz as a "normal kid" who skateboarded and "loved his grandma and grandpa. But police claim the teen, who appeared at the video arraignment wearing a white Oxford shirt and matching undershirt, drove the killing.

Orlewicz repeatedly stabbed Sorensen in the back and slit his throat with a kitchen knife, Canton Police Detective Ken Robinson testified Monday during the pair's arraignment in 34th District Court in Romulus.

"Orlewicz then retrieved a hacksaw and proceeded to cut Sorensen's head off with the saw," Robinson told the court.

A blowtorch was used to burn his hands and feet to hide his identity, Worthy said. Supplies were at the ready to clean up after Sorensen's torso was wrapped in tarps and placed in the bed of his 2001 Chevrolet S-10 pickup, she alleged.

Police retrieved the evidence over the next few days.

The charred body was found by a Northville Township utility crew Thursday morning in a secluded new subdivision near Maybury State Park.

Friday, the truck turned up at a Meijer store at Newburgh and Warren in Westland.

Saturday, a tip led police to Sorensen's head in the Helms Haven picnic area of Hines Park in Dearborn Heights.

Police and prosecutors declined to discuss the case at length until the pair's preliminary examination Nov. 19 at 35th District Court in Plymouth. If convicted, the teens face life in prison for premeditated murder, felony murder and mutilation of a corpse.

Worthy said one of the teens and perhaps another person provided police with vital information, including the location of Sorensen's head. Last week, police said there were three persons of interest in the case.

"All of us are shocked and appalled," said Canton Township Public Safety Director John Santomauro.

Police and prosecutors wouldn't elaborate on a motive, but Los Angeles psychologist Michael L. Peck said a total lack of empathy and aggression are hallmarks of thrill killers.

Horror movies and violent video games also can be contributing factors, said Peck, a former deputy coroner for Los Angeles County.

Family, friends shocked

Family members, neighbors and classmates said the crimes are so shocking, they're totally out of character for the teens.

Speaking briefly to reporters after the arraignment, Letkemann's father said his family is "behind him all the way -- 100 percent."

"Anyone who knows my family and me, and Alex in particular, knows this would be totally out of character. I love him," said Peter Letkemann, according to broadcast reports.

Lawyers for Orlewicz declined to comment, but Letkemann's attorney, Raymond Cassar, said his client is cooperating.

"The family wants the public to know that their son isn't a cold-blooded murderer," said Cassar. "My client was not involved in a thrill kill. When the facts come out the public will understand that."

Letkemann dropped out of Churchill High in April 2006 to "move onto a different way to get his diploma," said Principal Joe Anderson.

He was due to graduate last spring, but friends said he left after a citation for being a minor in possession of alcohol.

"Alex was funny and fun to be around," said Matt Goralski, an 18-year-old classmate since their freshman year. "He played guitar and sang in some bands. We kind of drifted apart because he got involved in some stuff I didn't want to. He seems wild and like he would do some crazy things, but nothing like killing someone. It seems impossible to believe."

A neighbor of the Letkemanns, Joe Lorenzo, described the teen as "very polite."

Plymouth-Canton school officials were notified Saturday that Orlewicz was about to be arrested. They hand-delivered 225 letters to high school teachers Monday, directing students troubled by the killing and arrests to counselors.

The arrest was the buzz of the school and Internet on Monday. Ongoing chats on MySpace forums suggested mercy killing of the two as retribution. Michigan does not have the death penalty.

"Some people were scared, but nobody knew anything," said Justin Scott, a 17-year-old senior at Canton High. No one knew who (Orlewicz) was."

Orlewicz comes from a tight-knit family of "good people" who have conscientiously cared for their elderly grandfather, said Walker, the neighbor.

"He could have been any kid, he was just normal," Walker said. "(He and his brother) were just two cute little boys, just like he is now on TV. An innocent little face."


'I can't even find a reason:' Teary accomplice in beheading at a loss

Alexander Letkemann sentenced to 20-30 years

Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News

Thursday, April 24, 2008

DETROIT -- As Alexander Letkemann stood before Wayne Circuit Judge Annette J. Berry Wednesday for sentencing in the death of a River Rouge man, the judge asked the question she believed was on the minds of anyone who heard about his case.

"Why?" she asked, demanding the 18-year-old's reason for agreeing to help in another teen's plan to stab, behead and burn 26-year-old Daniel Sorensen.

Letkemann, 18, of Westland had been the star witness in a trial this month that convicted Jean Pierre "JP" Orlewicz, 18, of Plymouth Township in Sorensen's Nov. 7 slaying. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy called it a "thrill killing."

Letkemann pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify in a deal to avoid the mandatory sentence of life in prison Orlewicz will receive on May 12.

The judge sentenced Letkemann to a term recommended by prosecutors in the case: 20-30 years behind bars.

But she pressed him for answers on why he participated in the killing, why he didn't stop it, why he didn't at least warn authorities about Orlewicz's gruesome plans.

"I can't even find a reason for myself," Letkemann told the judge.

The judge had received letters from Letkemann's friends and family "painting a picture of a sweet, kind, young boy."

Letkemann wiped his eyes with a tissue as the judge told about one from his 13-year-old sister, Amanda Letkemann, who struggled to explain her funny and musical brother's unlikely participation in such a crime.

"You stood there and allowed a man's life to be taken," said the judge, adding her displeasure that others who testified that they knew of the plan or helped with cleaning up and moving the headless torso weren't charged. "Nobody says anything to stop this murder, and you have to live with that."

Letkemann answered, "That's right."

Letkemann testified that Orlewicz lured Sorensen into a Canton Township garage, where a tarp was spread on the floor. Knives, a hacksaw and a blowtorch were laid out to kill and hide the victim's identity.

Letkemann said he witnessed the crime only because Orlewicz promised to forgive a $100 debt. He helped clean up and move the body to an empty lot in Northville Township.

Letkemann later led police to where he said Orlewicz threw the head into the Rouge River.

Orlewicz testified that Letkemann merely stood by and nervously played with his hair during the struggle to kill Sorensen. The jury didn't believe Orlewicz's testimony that he killed Sorensen in self-defense when the older man pulled a gun.

Orlewicz had said he and Sorensen planned to intimidate another teen into paying them some of the teen's recent inheritance. Letkemann and others testified that Orlewicz had told them the extortion plot was a ruse to lure Sorensen into the death trap. Letkemann said Sorensen owed Orlewicz $400.

Sorensen's parents, James and Kimberly Sorensen, spoke Tuesday before the sentencing about their loss, and their forgiveness of Letkemann. They said they will support parole for Letkemann if it is extended to him in 20 years.

"I always felt Alex was manipulated by JP Orlewicz," James Sorensen said after the sentencing.

Letkemann's parents, family and friends sat behind the Sorensens in the courtroom. The families had embraced before the sentencing.

Peter Letkemann said his son feels deep remorse, but felt anything he might say in court would sound "lame." Letkemann told the judge that anything he might say would sound "fake."

Peter Letkemann said the Sorensens' forgiveness is important to his son. Letkemann's lawyer, Raymond Cassar, told the judge his client was nervous in court and failed to tell her how he wakes every night wishing he had stopped the slaying.

"Alex always wanted a shot at redemption, and he had it," Peter Letkemann said. "The Sorensens are amazing in their forgiveness. It means a lot."


Letters home from prison: Letkemann explains his role in beheading

Steve Pardo / The Detroit News

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP -- Alexander Letkemann agreed to help Jean Pierre "JP" Orlewicz murder a 26-year-old River Rouge man because he didn't believe Orlewicz would go through with it.

Letkemann, 18, explained his reasonings in hand-written letters from a state detention center in Jackson, his parents shared Monday. In the letters, he told his father, Peter, "I want my last statement to the public to be of peace and love."

Letkemann of Westland pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last month for his role in the death and beheading of Daniel Sorensen. The plea deal allowed him to avoid life in prison in exchange for his testimony against Orlewicz, 18, of Plymouth Township. Letkemann was sentenced April 23 to a minimum of 20 and maximum of 30 years in prison. As part of the agreement, Letkemann will not end up in the same prison as Orlewicz, Peter Letkemann said.

"If I thought that any act of violence was really going to take place that day, I never would have agreed to go over there," Letkemann wrote with words frequently misspelled. "The way the plan was discussed was in such a casual and joking context that it hardley seemed serious at all. I had been using mind altering drugs the entire week prior and had been drinking in excess the whole day before the incedent occurred. I, unlike, most people refuse to blame my actions on being intoxicated. However, it had a considerable influence over my thought-process and judment. I know that if I was sober and thinking clearly, there would have been an entirely different outcome.

It all started with a debt

Peter Letkemann said Monday that he didn't know how bad or how fast his son's drinking and drug use had spiraled. Within a few weeks his son had gone from a typical teenager dabbling in marijuana and alcohol to a person that had progressed to heavy drugs and heavy drinking.

"This turn for the worse happened just a few weeks before the murder. Looking back on it, Alex shakes his head now because it doesn't make a lot of sense," Peter Letkemann said. "He's absolutely determined to make the most of this."

The body of Sorensen was found Nov. 8 at the end of an undeveloped subdivision cul-de-sac in Northville Township. His severed head was found two days later in a section of Hines Park located in Dearborn Heights.

Orlewicz was convicted of first-degree murder. He faces mandatory life in prison at his sentencing Monday. At the trial, Orlewicz admitted decapitating Sorensen with a hacksaw, burning his fingers with a blowtorch to remove fingerprints, dumping the body, setting it afire and tossing the head in the Rouge River.

"When I first was told about committing this crime," Letkemann's letter continues, "it was to relive a one hundred dollar debt I owed to my co-defendant. I had no job or money so I agreed. The plan, like I said, never sounded remotley serious and I figured it wouldn't happen but I might get my debt relieved anyways. It sounds rediculous, but between debt, a drug habit, and the most extreme lack of judment -- I said I would help."

Letkemann was questioned by township police and released after he signed a statement attesting he was called to help lift the body from the garage. He was arrested after he returned to give more information. Information, his father said, he gave because he was trying to help authorities and was afraid Orlewicz would kill again.

"J.P. had said a couple of things that really got Alex scared -- that he wouldn't make those mistakes next time," Peter Letkemann said. "It got Alex thinking 'He's going to do this again.' If Alex had gone to trial, a lot of this would have come out."

Prison experience surprises

In a letter dated April 29, Letkemann also wrote about his transfer to the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson. He is currently being evaluated at the facility and will then be transferred to a permanent prison after undergoing personality, health and intelligence tests.

He starts out with "Hey Mom and Dad" and tells his parents about his first day leaving the jail, getting fingerprinted at prison and getting new prison clothes.

The first experiences were positive, upbeat. He writes of new shoes, socks, three pairs of underwear, four shirts, a jacket, hats -- all with his prison number on it.

"Oh yeah, my number is 685 which of course adds up to 19 (wierd). We have new pants and shirts that actually fit because, get this they had a tailor go around and ask sizes. It blew me away. They arranged to have my court clothes and mail bag sent home to you guys too. It's been so long since an institution actually cared."

" ... They gave us blankets and a pillow. We had an orientation -- this whole day had this very strange 'first day of school' feeling to it," he continued to his parents. "When we were walking out side, everyone was getting excited and joking with each other. I can't express how happy I am that this place isn't awful, I half expected it to be. Right now its quiet and I was relaxing after a dinner of real chicken noodle soup. No one has given me a hard time -- in fact quite the opposite."

He asks about his 15-year-old sister, Amanda. He requests Beatles pictures, Lord of the Rings books, anything by Jack Kerouac and wrote "a book on meditating would be cool."



home last updates contact