Sioux Falls, SD
The South Dakota Supreme Court will hear appeals in a Mitchell murder case and in the state's first synthetic drug conviction during its fall term, which starts Monday at Black Hills State University in Spearfish.
In November of 2009 a routine call for a rural grass fire near Mitchell led to a grim discovery; 16-year-old Jasmine Guevara had been burned to death inside the trunk of a car.
Alexander Salgado and Maricela Diaz were arrested and according to court documents admitted to investigators that they stabbed Guevara and then set the vehicle on fire with lighter fluid.
Salgado pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in 2010.
However, prosecutors have filed an appeal with the South Dakota Supreme Court as they prepare to put Diaz on trial. That's because a circuit court judge ruled that Diaz, who speaks Spanish, didn't fully understand her Miranda rights when she admitted to the killing, even though those rights were read in both English and Spanish. It will be up to the justices to decide if those statements will be allowed during her trial.
The justices will also consider whether one of the state's first synthetic drug convictions should stand. Jason Toben, 40, was found guilty of selling illegal synthetic drugs to undercover agents out of a Goodwin, SD bar. He is appealing to South Dakota's highest court saying he did not know the drugs he sold contained the chemicals that the state legislature made illegal just ten days earlier.
Finally, a Sioux Falls man is appealing to the Supreme Court after his lawsuit against the Chester Volunteer Fire Department and one of its firefighters was thrown out. Areyman Gabriel says that Chester Volunteer Firefighter Tim Bauman acted recklessly when he was speeding in his personal pick-up while responding to a fire call in July of 2007. Bauman was driving south on Lake County Highway 15 and Gabriel was driving north when Gabriel made a left hand turn in front of Bauman and the two crashed. A circuit judge threw out the lawsuit but Gabriel and his attorney are appealing that decision.
The five South Dakota justices will hear arguments on both sides of all those cases starting Monday.
KELOLAND News will be streaming audio and video of all of the cases from Black Hills State on KELOLAND.com.