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Jackley: Guevara's family 'pleased with decision, ready to move forward'

The family of Jasmine Guevara is pleased that justice appears to be moving forward in the 2009 killing of the 16-year-old girl, according to South Dakota’s attorney general.

The South Dakota Supreme Court decided Thursday to allow a confession from Maricela Diaz that she killed Guevara on Nov. 9, 2009. The court’s decision overturned an earlier ruling by a lower court.

“Our Supreme Court has determined that Miss Diaz was fully informed of her Miranda rights in both English and Spanish, and knowingly and intelligently waived those rights,” said Attorney General Marty Jackley. “I’ve had the opportunity to discuss the decision with Jasmine’s family, and we are pleased with the decision and are ready to move forward with the jury trial.”

The Supreme Court voted 4-1 to reverse Judge Tim Bjorkman’s 2012 decision to toss out Diaz’s confession. Justice John Konenkamp voted against, stating Diaz was too immature to knowingly and voluntarily waive her Miranda rights.

Jackley said he respects Konenkamp’s concerns.

“However, I agree with the majority of our Supreme Court based upon the facts of the case and established law,” Jackley said.

Jackley would not speak more specifically to how Guevara’s family reacted to the decision or how they are doing.

“I want to respect their privacy,” he said. “But I’ll generally state that certainly Jasmine’s family experienced an unfortunate tragedy. While we can’t bring back Jasmine, we can, through the criminal process, seek justice and hold the people responsible accountable.”

When contacted by The Daily Republic on Thursday, Guevara’s mother, Ada Morales, declined to comment.

Investigator Joel Reinesch, the lead investigator on the case at the Mitchell Police Division, also declined comment. Judge Bjorkman declined comment as well, according to his court reporter Carol Johnson, who stated he doesn’t feel it’s appropriate for him to comment on any pending case.

Doug Dailey, attorney for Diaz, said he is disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We felt Judge Bjorkman’s decision was sound and the correct decision,” he said. “We also agree with the dissenting opinion issued by Justice John Konenkamp. However, we’re reviewing all our options in regards to the decision before moving forward.”

When asked how Diaz and her family are doing, he declined to comment.

The venue of the trial was changed in July 2012 from Hanson County to Minnehaha County. The next step is to set the trial date, Jackley said, and resolve any final pretrial issues.