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Salgado to change plea

A man who earlier pleaded not guilty to three charges related to the killing of a 16-year-old Mitchell girl is scheduled to change his plea Monday in a Mitchell courtroom.

Alexander Salgado, 21, is scheduled to change his plea at 8 a.m. Monday at the Davison County Public Safety Center.

In November, Salgado pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, felony murder and first-degree arson charges in the death that same month of Jasmine Guevara, 16. Salgado and a juvenile female identified by authorities only as M.D. are accused of stabbing Guevara, cutting her throat and setting her car on fire with her body inside it near James River Road southeast of Mitchell and across the line into Hanson County.

It's unknown what Salgado's new plea will be. Neither Paige Wilbur, of the South Dakota Attorney General's Office, or Hanson County State's Attorney Jim Davies would comment on the case Thursday.

Salgado was originally scheduled to appear this past Wednesday in Hanson County Court, but the status hearing was canceled.

A recent discovery in his case may have changed the options available to prosecutors.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that Salgado was a Mexican citizen working illegally in the United States. That complicated the prosecution's July decision to seek the death penalty for Salgado, because the Mexican consulate was not consulted before the announcement.

Mexico sued the U.S. in the International Court of Justice over 51 citizens on death row in 2003, saying the inmates' rights were violated because they were not offered access to their consulate when arrested.

The international court ruled in Mexico's favor. The U.S. Supreme Court has since ruled that the International Court can't dictate the terms of U.S. law in death penalty cases, but the issue continues to simmer.

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

Exact charges against M.D. have not been made public because of her juvenile status.