Montevideo Murder To Trial 01 Dec 12

The Montevideo man accused of killing a co-worker earlier this year will stand trial on a 1st-degree murder charge. The judge in the case this week denied a petition by 25-year-old Darek Nelson to plead guilty to the lesser charge of 2nd-degree murder for the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Vinessa Lozano on January 13th. The Defense had argued that Nelson’s post-arrest diagnosis of the developmental disorder Asperger’s syndrome would allow the court to accept a plea to a lesser offense. District Judge Dwayne Knutsen disagreed, and ruled that there was not a sufficient basis for the court to accept the plea, and the case would go forward with the 1st-degree murder charge. Nelson allegedly attacked Lozano with a hunting knife as they left their work at the Pizza Ranch restaurant in Montevideo because she had not returned his romantic interest in her. He now faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for February 7th, with the trial then beginning on February 25th