The South Dakota Supreme Court reversed a trial court decision, allowing Maricela Diaz’s confession to the 2009 murder of a Mitchell teen to be used in her upcoming trial.
A judge ruled in 2012 that police failed to properly inform Diaz of her right to remain silent when questioning her in November 2009 death of 16-year-old Jasmine Guevara. Diaz was 15 at the time.
Prosecutors argued Diaz voluntarily waived her Miranda rights, and Thursday morning the South Dakota Supreme Court agreed, saying Diaz fully understood her rights during questioning.
The ruling passed 4-1 in the Supreme Court.
Diaz admitted to her involvement in Guevara’s death during that questioning. Guevara was stabbed and burned in the trunk of a car outside of Mitchell. An autopsy revealed Guevara had been burned alive.
Diaz faces first-degree murder, felony murder arson, first-degree arson, felony murder kidnapping and second-degree aggravated kidnapping charges. Her boyfriend, Alexander Salgado, pleaded guilty to murder in the case in 2010 and is now serving life in prison.
Diaz’s trial is scheduled to take place in Minnehaha County, not Hanson County. A date has not been set.