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Neighbors React To Sandoval's Not Guilty Verdict

January 26, 2002, 10:20 PM by Amanda Spicer

Neighbors React To Sandoval's Not Guilty Verdict

The verdict in a Sioux Falls murder trial's left a KELOLAND neighborhood with questions. Selvin Guerra Sandoval was one of two men charged in the death of Magdelano Tenas. Friday night Sandoval was found not guilty.

Many of the people who live in the Cherry Tree Apartment Complex were stunned by the not guilty verdict. They assumed the case was open and shut.

The Cherry Tree Apartment complex was quiet Saturday. But nine months ago the parking lot was buzzing with emergency vehicles, police officers and the media. Last April the body of Magdaleno Tenas was found outside the complex. Friday, after two weeks of testimony, the jury read Selvin Guerra Sandoval's fate.

Neighbors say they're not happy about the verdict.

Michael Scovell says, "The not guilty verdict upsets me."

Susan Snapper says, "It's hard for me to not let go of the guilty fact."

State's attorney Dave Nelson says he doesn't want to speculate why the jury made the decision it did. But he feels there was strong evidence against Sandoval. He says, "We were surprised with the verdict and certainly disappointed with the verdict however I've never been in the business of second guessing jurors and I'm not going to do that now."

Susan Snapper's lived in the Cherry Tree Apartments for seven years. She says after police made two arrests, she thought the case was open and shut. So yesterday's verdict, has her second guessing the court system. She says, "I used to trust in the justice system quite a bit, but now I'm not sure."

And some say since Sandoval's not guilty, police need to find the person who is.

Scovell says, "We need to find who's guilty of the crime and put them behind bars where they belong."

Sandoval won't get his total freedom yet. Nelson says it's his understanding that Immigration and Naturalization Services continue to maintain a hold on him given his alien status, but Nelson's not sure what they'll do with him.

Remberto Avila is also accused in the murder. He'll go to court in April.

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