A trial date of February 25th has been set for murder suspect Darek Nelson of Montevideo.
The 25-year-old Nelson is charged with 1st Degree Premeditated Murder, 2nd Degree Murder and 2 counts of 2nd Degree Assault with a Dangerous Weapon for the January 13th stabbing death of 18-year-old Vinessa Lozano of Montevideo.
Nelson is accused of attacking Lozano with a hunting knife outside the Pizza Ranch Restaurant where they both worked. He also allegedly threatened a co-worker who tried to help Lozano.
KWLM reports at Nelson’s omnibus hearing in Montevideo Friday, Chippewa County Attorney Dave Gilbertson told Judge Dwayne Knutsen he opposed a defense motion to allow Nelson to plead guilty to 2nd Degree Murder. Gilbertson says Knutsen will also decide if a rambling, 90-minute statement Nelson made while in jail can be used as evidence in the trial and if Nelson’s rights were violated when it was obtained. Nelson reportedly said he killed Lozano because he felt like she rejected his romantic advances. Gilbertson also says he wants the judge to rule that the defense cannot present expert witnesses during the trial that will talk about Nelson having the social disorder known as Asperger’s Syndrome.
Knutsen will rule on the motions, and if he does not accept the guilty plea to 2nd Degree Murder, a pretrial hearing will take place February 7th, and the trial will begin Feburary 25th.
Nelson remains jailed on 1 million dollars unconditional bail.