PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley and Hanson County States Attorney Jim Davies announced today that the South Dakota Supreme Court has denied Maricela N. Diaz’s request for discretionary appeal from the circuit court’s order transferring Diaz to adult court. Trial is scheduled to begin on March 5, 2012.
Maricela N. Diaz, 16, Ft. Wayne, Indiana/ Guanajuato, Mexico, was indicted on August 5, 2011 on the following charges: Count 1 alleges first degree murder, class A felony, with mandatory life in prison; Count 2 alleges felony murder arson, class A felony, with mandatory life in prison; Count 3 alleges first degree arson, class 2 felony, with maximum penalty of 25 years in prison; Count 4 alleges felony murder kidnapping class A felony, with a mandatory life in prison; and Count 5 alleges second-degree aggravated kidnapping class 1 felony, with a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison.
The United States Supreme Court has interpreted the 8th and the 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution to prevent states from seeking the death penalty for an offender who is under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed.
On November 10, 2009, law enforcement responded to a call regarding a vehicle fire in rural Hanson County, South Dakota. Victim Jasmine Guevara’s remains were discovered in the trunk of the vehicle. A subsequent investigation disclosed that the victim was lured to the scene under false pretenses, stabbed, and left in the vehicle, which was started on fire with lighter fluid.
On November 24, 2009, Alexander Salgado, 21, Ft. Wayne, Indiana/ Guerrero, Mexico, was indicted for the murder of 16 year-old Jasmine Guevara. Salgado plead guilty to second-degree murder on August 30, 2010, and was sentenced to life without parole.
Diaz is presumed innocent until such time as proven guilty.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Thursday, September 29, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215