One year and five days after the tragic incident, Darek Jon Nelson has plead guilty to the first-degree premeditated murder of Vinessa Lozano, an 18-year-old Montevideo woman who many knew for her compassion and her calling to the medical field.
A plea agreement between the prosecution and defense was presented to Eighth District Judge Dwayne Knutsen, which outlined Nelson's intent to plea guilty to first-degree murder, in exchange for the second-degree murder charge and two assault charges being dropped.
Judge Knutsen sentenced Nelson to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the maximum sentence in Minnesota for first-degree murder.
This agreement comes after a second-degree murder plea was rejected in November, and a jury trial had been scheduled for February.
The charges were filed against Nelson after he fatally stabbed Lozano when she left work at the Pizza Ranch restaurant in Montevideo.
After submitting the plea, the court asked Nelson to explain the events of Jan. 13, 2012.
Nelson told the court how he had hidden a hunting knife in his hooded sweatshirt, and had five days before planned to kill Lozano if she didn't agree to a "verbal agreement," ostensibly to hang out at a certain time. Though Lozano had tried to befriend Nelson, she had apparently not shared any further interest. "I guess I felt hurt, needed to do something about it," Nelson told the court.
However, as Nelson's testimony went on, reaching the point where he said he snuck up behind Lozano as she left work, his answers to the court's questions seemed to alter.
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