After two days of testimony by investigators and witnesses, a Chippewa County grand jury handed down an indictment on Darek Jon Nelson, 24, of Montevideo, who had been charged in the fatal stabbing of Vinessa Lozano, 18, of Montevideo.


After two days of testimony by investigators and witnesses, a Chippewa County grand jury handed down an indictment on Darek Jon Nelson, 24, of Montevideo, who had been charged in the fatal stabbing of Vinessa Lozano, 18, of Montevideo.

Nelson was indicted on First Degree Premeditated Murder and Second Degree Intentional Murder charges for the Jan. 13 stabbing. He was also indicted on an Assault in the Second Degree charge for an assault with a dangerous weapon against a witness who attempted to render aid to the victim.

In Minnesota, only a grand jury can indict on first degree murder, which holds a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Bail was also increased from $750,000 to $1 million.

The grand jury included 22 members, at least 12  of whom needed to vote in favor of an indictment to bring it forward. The vote is kept secret.

Nelson did not testify before the grand jury, and according to the indictment, 13 people were called as witnesses during the May 15 and 16 proceedings.

Because the proceedings were closed to the press and the public, Chippewa County Attorney David Gilbertson, who is prosecuting the case along with Robert A Plesha, a Minnesota assistant attorney general, was unable to comment on them. However, he gave some insight about future proceedings.

“The grand jury’s job is done,”?Gilbertson said.

No scheduling dates are set at this time, which Gilbertson said is not unusual, but he imagines the next step will likely be an omnibus hearing. An omnibus hearing provides an opportunity to determine the admissibility of evidence, which could include physical evidence or testimony.

Following the omnibus hearing there will likely be a pre-trial conference during which attorneys will meet with the judge and discuss what they anticipate happening during the trial. This provides the court an opportunity to prepare for any potential issues.

After the pre-trial conference, a trial date will be set, which may have either a regular jury or a judge hearing testimony and deciding a verdict.

All further proceedings will be open to the public.

Nelson’s attorney, Gregory Holmstrom, of Granite Falls, was unable to comment at this time.