Quality Work of DOJ Investigators, Assistant Attorney General Results in Life Sentence of Iron County Man for Homicide and Arson

Jun 6 2017

MADISON, Wis. – Last week, 45-year-old Donald F. Rick was sentenced by Iron County Judge Patrick J. Madden to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, for the March 12, 2016 murder of a woman and the arson of the Bear Trap Inn in Saxon, Wisconsin.


“I am regularly thanked by local law enforcement and community leaders for the excellent work of the elite team at the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) that keeps our communities safe,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The successful investigation and prosecution of this murderer and arsonist is the latest example of leadership our state has come to expect from DOJ. I’m proud to work alongside the men and women of DOJ who delivered justice to this victim’s family and community.”


Mr. Rick robbed the Bear Trap Inn after the bar closed in the early morning hours of March 12, 2016. During the robbery, Mr. Rick had an encounter with a female employee and stabbed her five times. Mr. Rick then doused the female employee and the Bear Trap Inn with gasoline and lit the building on fire, resulting in her death and total destruction of the facility. Mr. Rick pled guilty to first-degree intentional homicide in December 2016.


“In Iron County, we are fortunate that these types of terrible tragedies are infrequent occurrences and we do not have to regularly call on the State for assistance,” said Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk. “However, it is a great comfort to know investigators and prosecutors at DOJ are only a phone call away and always willing to help us put the bad guys behind bars. I appreciate Attorney General Schimel’s dedication to local law enforcement and commitment to crime victims.”


The DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Arson Bureau led the investigation into this arson and homicide and Assistant Attorney General Dick Dufour led the successful prosecution of Mr. Rick. DOJ was assisted by the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Iron County District Attorney’s Office, Saxon-Gurney Fire Department, Town of Kimball Fire Department, Upson Volunteer Fire Department, and the Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.


Mr. Rick’s girlfriend, Jessica Carli, who has been convicted of assisting him with disposing of the evidence, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20, 2017.