Salgado appears in court; details of murder emergeOne of the suspects in the murder of a Mitchell teenager made his first court appearance late Friday afternoon. Alexander Salgado, 20, of Fort Wayne, Ind., who recently relocated to Mitchell, is accused of charges including first-degree murder in the Tuesday death of Jasmine Guevara, 16. Also charged is a 15-year-old girl, whom authorities have identified only by the initials M.D.
By: Melanie Brandert, The Daily Republic
One of the suspects in the murder of a Mitchell teenager made his first court appearance late Friday afternoon.
Alexander Salgado, 20, of Fort Wayne, Ind., who recently relocated to Mitchell, is accused of charges including first-degree murder in the Tuesday death of Jasmine Guevara, 16. Also charged is a 15-year-old girl, whom authorities have identified only by the initials M.D.
Salgado appeared in the courtroom of the Davison County Public Safety Building wearing navy blue jail clothes. His hands and feet were cuffed and chained together.
He requested a court-appointed attorney, and Circuit Judge Sean O’Brien assigned Mike Fink, of Bridgewater, who was not present at the proceedings.
O’Brien ordered that Salgado be held without bond. Salgado’s only comment beyond a “yes” or “no” answer was a question.
“Am I the only one being charged with this?” Salgado asked the judge. “Because there was two of us.”
“I can’t answer that question,” O’Brien replied.
Court documents that became available Friday revealed additional details about the murder.
Salgado and M.D. allegedly formed a plan to kill Guevara because M.D. became jealous of Salgado’s and Guevara’s developing friendship. M.D. suspected a relationship was developing at a party Sunday night, according to the court documents.
The pair allegedly told investigators that they lured Guevara to pick them up and take them to Walmart, where they said they would buy lighter fluid for a cookout they planned to have Tuesday night. They both concealed knives, court documents said.
After they left Walmart, Salgado and M.D. allegedly drove to a rural Hanson County location, stabbed Guevara and cut her throat, put her in the trunk of a vehicle, and used the lighter fluid they bought at Walmart to set fire to the vehicle.
Guevara has yet to be positively identified as the victim in the burned car. But investigators believe that she was in the trunk of the burned vehicle, according to an affidavit filed by Tyler Neuharth, a special agent with state Division of Criminal Investigation.
“The car Guevara was last known to be driving was seen by a witness at 8:37 p.m. on November 10, 2009, approximately a quarter of a mile from the location of the burned car,” Neuharth wrote.
The car was discovered Tuesday night on James River Road north of 257th Street, nearly three miles southeast of Mitchell in Hanson County, by a couple who found it ablaze an hour after Guevara was last seen.
Salgado and M.D. had been staying with an acquaintance in a home at 613 W. First Ave. in Mitchell, about one block from where Guevara lived. Guevara had a friend who also lived at the home.
Investigators reported finding evidence that connected the two suspects to Guevara’s murder. Soiled clothing that appeared to contain blood was found at the home where the duo stayed, and a sweater with apparent blood was found at a location that the girl gave to law enforcement. Guevara’s cell phone was recovered in an area where the two suspects said it would be.
Hanson County State’s Attorney Jim Davies said a private telephone hearing for the girl was planned for Friday afternoon to determine custody and detention. After Salgado’s hearing, Davies declined to say where the girl is being held. Salgado has been housed in the Davison County Jail.
Davies also declined to say whether he will attempt to have the girl tried as an adult. Assistant Attorney General Doug Barnett appeared with Davies on the prosecution side but deferred media questions to Davies.
A preliminary hearing for Salgado is set for Nov. 25. If convicted, he could face death or life in prison.
Guevara’s twin brother, Manuel Guevara, gave a brief statement Friday to The Daily Republic over the phone.
“We thank the people around the community who have come to support us,” he said.
Friends and co-workers of Guevara dealt with dashed hopes Friday, having spent previous days hoping that Guevara was alive.
Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves described the crime as troubling and horrifying.
“A lot of people had steeled themselves for this possibility,” he said. “There’s a sadness, but also appreciation that if it had to be this, they caught the people responsible.”
Graves said he called the local Ministerial Association on Thursday, and some members came to the high school Friday to provide support to students who needed it. Extra counselors also were called to the school.
Graves said he had known Guevara since she was a Longfellow Elementary student. He described her as a pleasant person with a winning smile.
Guevara started working as a weekend dishwasher at Twin Dragon Restaurant a month ago, owner Danny Prom said. He called her a good, friendly and outgoing person.