Jury selection for Diaz trial set for December
The woman accused of killing a Mitchell teenager in 2009 is again set to stand trial after the South Dakota Supreme Court moved the case back to circuit court.
Maricela Diaz, 19, is charged with the death of Jasmine Guevara, who was 16 when she was killed in November 2009. Diaz is charged with three alternate counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, first-degree arson and second-degree aggravated kidnapping.
In court documents filed earlier this month, the court ordered Diaz's trial will begin with jury selection on Dec. 29 at the Minnehaha County Courthouse. Judge Tim Bjorkman granted in 2012 a change of venue from Hanson County, agreeing with Diaz's attorneys that she wouldn't get a fair and impartial trial.
The prosecution is expected to begin its case on Jan. 5 and the defense on Jan. 13.
In the meantime, Bjorkman ordered Diaz be transferred to the Davison County Jail to be held until the trial begins or the court orders different, according to court documents.
Diaz pleaded not guilty to the charges against her in August 2011 when the case was moved to adult court. Investigation into the case alleges Guevara was lured to a rural Hanson County location under false pretenses where she was stabbed and her body was left in a burning vehicle.
Diaz, of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Guanajuato, Mexico, was allegedly a part of this, along with her then-boyfriend Alexander Salgado.
Salgado pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in August 2010 in connection with Guevara's death. He is serving a life sentence in the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.