Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Wednesday (April 17) announced it has secured the guilty plea of a man who killed a German national in 2011 by slashing the woman’s throat in Armstrong Park.
Tomarcus Porter, 31, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter in connection with the killing of 47-year-old Gisela Graeble-Dagmar. The plea agreement was approved April 11 by Criminal District Judge Benedict Willard, who sentenced Porter to 20 years in state prison.
The victim was last seen holding a suitcase alongside a man on Basin Street near the park on the night of Aug. 7, 2011. Her decomposed body, hidden in bushes near the side of the Municipal Auditorium, was found four days later by a man walking his dog.
New Orleans police received tips and witness statements identifying Porter as the man seen with Graeble-Dagmar shortly before her disappearance, and he was arrested after a short chase near Armstrong Park on Aug. 26, 2011. Porter’s DNA was recovered from
underneath the dead woman’s fingernails.
Police determined the victim had lived in South Florida for most of the previous 10 years, but had arrived in New Orleans about three weeks before her death to visit a friend. After she and the friend had a dispute, the woman left to find someplace else to stay. At the time of her death, the park had been closed for repairs.
Extensive efforts to locate the victim’s family in Germany proved unsuccessful, including attempts made by the U.S. Department of Justice through German authorities. Police found no evidence that Graeble-Dagmar had a criminal history, save for a drunk-driving
arrest in Florida. Fingerprints collected at that arrest were used to identify her as the victim found in Armstrong Park.
In addition to the manslaughter charge, Porter pleaded guilty to several other counts of aggravated battery, possession of contraband and criminal damage picked up during his time in custody. Sentences for those offenses were ordered to be served concurrent to
the manslaughter sentence.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Guillory prosecuted the case.
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