Herald Journal, April 21, 2003
Sanchez-Diaz found guilty of murder
By Ryan Gueningsman
A jury delivered a guilty verdict in the murder trial of Sergio Sanchez-Diaz Monday last Monday after four-and-a-half hours of deliberation.
Sanchez-Diaz, 24, was originally charged for the death of Laura Vasquez-Ruelas and her unborn child following an incident Dec. 29, 2001 at their Lester Prairie mobile home.
He was convicted of one count of first degree murder which bears a mandatory life-sentence, said McLeod County Attorney Mike Junge. He will not be eligible for parole for at least 30 years, and possibly as much as 46 and-a-half years.
"That will depend what the judge decides to do with regards to the death of the unborn child," Junge said. "It could be a concurrent sentence, or a consecutive sentence."
He was also convicted of two counts of second degree murder one for each Vasquez-Ruelas and one for the unborn child.
Judge Terrance Conkel set a sentencing hearing June 13 at 9 a.m. and Sanchez-Diaz to be held without bail, said Junge. There will be a pre-sentence investigation conducted.
"I'm not sure where he is at right now," Junge said. "He is still in custody of the sheriff, but he may be in a different county."
Sanchez-Diaz's attorney Fran Eggert of Winsted declined to comment about the trial.
"We're all pretty happy that it is over," said McLeod County Sheriff Wayne Vinkemeier. "I'm glad its come to a conclusion and hopefully the family can somewhat move on."