WINONA, MN — William Braatz ignored his nightgown-clad girlfriend's pleas to let her inside his home on a subzero night, according to a complaint Thursday.

Braatz, 35, of Winona is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Renee Brown, whose frozen body was found outside his home Jan. 31 when the temperature dropped to 23 degrees below zero. Brown, 37, also of Winona, died of hypothermia and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.27 percent, according to an autopsy report. That's nearly three times the legal limit.

She was wearing only a flannel nightgown and no shoes. The temperature dropped to 23° below zero.

Braatz told police the two had been drinking the night of Jan. 30 and that he took Brown home and tried to put her to bed. But he said she cried and begged him to stay when he left on foot to go home and that she followed him the few blocks, wearing only her flannel nightgown and no shoes.

Braatz said he called a friend, hoping he would come and take Brown home, and then went to bed, ignoring the pounding on his door and bedroom window and pleas of "Let me in, Sweets. Let me in, Sweets."

Braatz said he knew he should have let Brown inside, according to the complaint.

Braatz requested a public defender Thursday and was released pending his next court appearance April 7 before Judge Lawrence Collins.


On July 25th, Braatz was sentenced to six months in jail, 10 years' probation, ordered to complete a chemical dependency evaluation as well as abstain from drinking throughout his probation.