In his first court appearance since his arraignment in May, Darek Nelson, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Vinessa Lozano, was silent as officers from the Montevideo Police Department recounted the events of Jan. 13.
Nelson, 25, faces the possibility of a life sentence without release on the first-degree murder charge, but there is also a second degree murder charge, as well as a second degree assault charge, which relates to the chase of a co-worker who attempted to defend Lozano.
The criminal complaint alleges that Nelson attacked Lozano from behind as she left the restaurant where they both worked. It alleges that the murder was premeditated, in that Nelson planned to kill Lozano for not hanging out with him.
The omnibus hearing, which was held on Friday morning, Nov. 16, focused on the admissability of evidence for the case.
Nelson's defense attorney, Greg Holmstrom, filed a motion with the court to enter a plea of second degree murder, and asked that Nelson's diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome be considered a mitigating factor in the first degree charges.
Asperger's disorder (syndrome) is defined as a developmental disorder that affects a person's ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others.
"The defense is not asking the court to find Aspergers disorder is a defense to the crime of murder. Instead, we are asking the court to find the mental incapacity is a mitigating factor and accept a plea to a lesser offense," reads court documents filed by the defense.
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