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Maricela Diaz is led out of the Hanson County Courthouse in August 2011 in Alexandria by Deputy Casey Tegethoff after an initial appearance for murder charges. (Chris Huber/Republic)

Judge moves Diaz murder trial to Minnehaha County

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ALEXANDRIA -- A judge has moved the trial for a 17-year-old girl accused of murder from Hanson County to Minnehaha County.

Attorneys for Maricela Nicolasa Diaz, of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Guanajuato, Mexico, motioned for a change of venue because they believe it will be difficult to find impartial jurors in Hanson County, where the alleged crime occurred.

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Judge Tim Bjorkman signed an order June 29 granting the change of venue.

All pretrial proceedings will continue to take place in Hanson County, the order says. The trial is scheduled to begin in September.

Diaz pleaded not guilty in adult court in August 2011 to charges related to the November 2009 murder of Jasmine Guevara, 16, of Mitchell. The investigation into the murder indicated Guevara was lured into rural Hanson County under false pretenses and stabbed, and her body was left in a burning vehicle.

Alexander Salgado pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in August 2010 in connection with Guevara's death.

He is serving a life sentence at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

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