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No death penalty for 'M.D.'

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She is known only as M.D., a girl who, at age 15, was arrested for her involvement in the November killing of 16-year-old Jasmine Guevara, of Mitchell.

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She is accused of helping Alexander Salgado, 21, kill Guevara. Neither Hanson County State's Attorney Jim Davies nor Paige Wilbur, South Dakota Attorney General press secretary, would comment recently on charges or maximum penalties for the girl, but state law does say one thing: she cannot face the death penalty.

Prosecutors in Guevara's slaying announced Wednesday that they will seek the death penalty for Salgado, a man who has appeared to be soft-spoken in court appearances but is accused of slitting Guevara's throat and stuffing her in her own car's trunk before lighting the vehicle on fire in a field southeast of Mitchell in Hanson County.

But as of now, M.D. is safe from the threat of the death penalty, thanks to a law passed by the South Dakota Legislature in 2004 that prohibits capital punishment of juvenile offenders.

According to the law, the death penalty may not be imposed on any defendant less than 18 years old.

M.D.'s identity has remained anonymous in accordance with South Dakota law pertaining to juveniles. A representative of the South Dakota Attorney General's Office said public information would only come if her case is moved to adult court.

"If her case is transferred to adult court, charges would be made public at that time," Sara Rabern said in January.

Around the same time, Davies said he would request a hearing before a judge to transfer the case to adult court if evidence showed she should be tried as an adult.

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