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  1. #1
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    MN - Amber Lechuga, 22, found dismembered, Springfield, 25 Sept 2014



    http://www.mankatofreepress.com/news...6bd43774e.html

    Miguel Angel Vasquez is accused of murdering Amber Elena Lechuga, 22, of Springfield and dismembering her body before attempting to burn the remains. Lechuga's identity was only recently confirmed with a DNA test conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

    Vasquez and Lechuga lived together in an apartment at 20 1/2 Central Street in Springfield with their two young children. Police searched the apartment on Sept. 26. The status and location of the children is unknown at this point.

    The Brown County Sheriff's Office said the criminal complaint, which will be filed Friday, will show Lechuga was killed in their apartment by a gunshot wound to the head with a small caliber firearm. Her body was found in the front passenger floor of the van without its limbs and her head was found nearby in the Cottonwood River.
    http://www.kare11.com/story/news/cri...sted/16664625/

    Seidl says the suspect called 911 on Sept. 25 to report an auto accident and assault along Highway 4 south of Sleepy Eye. When police arrived they found the man partially clothed and smelling of gasoline, and the minivan engulfed in flames. The man told police he had been struck in the head and doused with gasoline. He suffered minor burns.

  2. #2
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    http://www.startribune.com/local/278046991.html

    Miguel Angel Vasquez, 26, of Springfield faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Amber Lechuga, the mother of his children. His bail was set at $2 million with no conditions or $1 million with conditions. "I'm concerned with the staggering brutality of the crime. I've been doing criminal law for over 17 years. When I read (the complaint,) it took my breath away," said Judge Robert Docherty, who set Vasquez's bail...

    Vasquez and Lechuga lived together in an apartment in Springfield with their two young children. Police searched the apartment on Sept. 26 and found evidence indicating Lechuga could have been killed there, according to the complaint.

    Prosecutors said during Vasquez's initial court appearance Friday that they were concerned the children could have witnessed the killing. Brown County Attorney Bob Hinnenthal said the children are now staying with their grandparents.

  3. #3
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    http://www.nujournal.com/page/conten....html?nav=5009

    A grand jury to determine if a 26-year-old Springfield man will be charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 25, 2014 slaying of a 23-year-old Springfield woman convened Monday in Brown County District Court...

    Newly-filed search warrants revealed an electronic online device with recent YouTube video searches involving sharpening a machete and the hardness of a human head, according to court documents. Law enforcement alleged they found blood on knives and a machete recovered from a Springfield apartment shared by Vasquez and Lechuga, according to the complaint.

  4. #4
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    http://www.winonadailynews.com/news/...00cfa6808.html

    A southern Minnesota man accused of killing his girlfriend, dismembering her body and trying to burn her remains has been charged with first-degree murder.

    A grand jury indicted 26-year-old Miguel Vasquez, of Springfield. The murder charge carries an automatic life sentence.

  5. #5
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    http://www.mankatofreepress.com/news...6461cc12e.html

    The court-appointed forensic psychiatrist said that despite claims of amnesia from Miguel Vasquez about the events surrounding the death of Amber Lechuga, Vasquez is competent to stand trial on murder charges.

  6. #6
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    What do you want to bet he get's a sudden total recovery of his memories as soon as he goes to court???

  7. #7
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    The trial began earlier this month. Miguel Vasquez waived his right to a jury trial and the judge will decide if he's guilty or not.

    Right now though, everything is on hold.

    http://www.mankatofreepress.com/news...d57fd4898.html

    The trial of Miguel Vasquez is on hold, possibly until January, after a suicide attempt by chewing on his own wrist he self-reported early Monday morning.

    "I want to have an examination done on an inpatient basis," Judge Robert Docherty said. "We are looking at two to four weeks before we get that report."

    Prosecutor and County Attorney Chuck Hanson said Vasquez reported the attempt to harm himself early Monday morning before the third day of his trial, which began Nov. 2.

    Vasquez will be admitted to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter for up to 60 days. Doctors will do an assessment to determine if he is competent to stand trial and aid in his own defense, Hanson said.

    He did not need hospitalization and remained in custody through the start of the week while the judge awaited results of the preliminary look at Vasquez's mental health before calling the Wednesday hearing. Vasquez either would not or could not communicate with his defense, Docherty said Monday morning when he disclosed the suicide attempt.

  8. #8
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    Vasquez trial still postponed

    http://www.nujournal.com/news/local-...ill-postponed/

    The murder trial of Miguel Vasquez remains postponed as the defense and prosecution await reports on Vasquez’s competency.

    The trial began in November but was suspended following the defendant’s suicide attempt. On Nov. 7 Vasquez wounded himself by biting into his wrist.

    Vasquez was transferred to a facility in St. Peter as an in-patient while the assessment was conducted. On Monday, Dec. 20, Vasquez was transferred back to Brown County jail. Even with Vasquez back in the county, the trial is likely still weeks away from restarting.

  9. #9
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    Attorneys ask judge to set date to resume Vasquez murder trial

    http://www.thelandonline.com/news/ma...9da935e8f.html

    State prosecutors are requesting Brown County Judge Robert Docherty set a date for Miguel Vasquez's murder trial to resume after it was put on hold in November.

    Brown County Attorney Charles Hanson said both state examiners and private mental health examiners have found Vasquez competent to stand trial.

    Hanson said the trial's new court date will depend on Docherty's schedule. There are several trials scheduled, but it is possible the trial could resume before the end of February.

  10. #10
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    Trial set to resume for Springfield man accused of murder

    http://www.myklgr.com/2017/01/31/tri...sed-of-murder/

    The trial of a Springfield man accused in the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 2014 will resume next month. Miguel Angel Vasquez, 28, is set to return to the Brown County Courthouse on February 21 after having been found competent to stand trial. The court has set aside nine days for the proceedings that are being heard by a judge, not a jury.


  11. #11
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    Vasquez murder trial resumes

    http://www.nujournal.com/news/local-...trial-resumes/

    The murder trial of Miguel A. Vasquez resumes Tuesday morning at the Brown County Courthouse. Vasquez stands accused of the first-degree murder and dismemberment of his ex-girlfriend, 23-year-old Amber Lechuga, and burning her remains in a vehicle fire 3 miles south of Sleepy Eye on Sept. 25, 2014.

    The trial began last November but was suspended following the defendant’s suicide attempt. On Nov. 7 Vasquez wounded himself by biting into his wrist.

  12. #12
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    Vasquez murder trial resumes; family members on witness stand

    http://www.mankatofreepress.com/news...07ed2cf9a.html

    The state prosecutors' witness testimony on Tuesday centered on the events leading up to the moment police picked up Vasquez on the side of the highway outside of Sleepy Eye with the van burning in the woods nearby.

    Vasquez initially told authorities he'd been rear-ended while driving and then knocked out. When he came to, the van was on fire, and he had gasoline all over his clothes so he took them off and ran, he told police.

    Vasquez's sister Janet and Lechuga's father, Adolfo Lechuga, and Adolfo's fiancee, Sharon Theis, testified.
    This is the first of two parts of the trial, one to decide his guilt and the other whether he was sane at the time of the murder. Vasquez's fate will be decided by Docherty because he waived his right to a jury trial.

  13. #13
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    Audio of BCA interview of Vasquez brings out emotions

    http://www.nujournal.com/news/local-...-out-emotions/

    The 90-minute recording was created by special agent Luke Hanegraaf with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) on the early morning of Sept. 26, 2014. Lechuga’s remains were discovered by the BCA during this interview.

    In the recording, Hanegraaf interviewed Vasquez after Vasquez was treated for burns at a Hennepin County emergency room. During the recording, Vasquez recounts his version of the events of Sept. 25.

    Hanegraaf testified that at the start of the interview, Vasquez was not considered a suspect. The BCA had not confirmed the presence of human remains in the van until after the interview began. After hearing Vasquez’ version of events, Hanegraaf said in the recording he believed Vasquez was leaving out information.

    Hanegraaf questioned why Vasquez was unable to see the people who attacked him and why the van rear shows no signs of a collision. Hanegraaf told Vasquez his injuries did not match up with the story either. Vasquez had no wound or swelling to the back of his head that would be consistent with being knocked unconscious. Hanegraaf said it looked like Vasquez only encountered fire from the front and there were not scars on his back.

    Partway through the interview Hanegraaf left the room to take a call. He testified at this point he was told of the human remains.
    Lechuga’s sister Alyssa Lechuga testified on her discovery of the suspicious search entries on Vasquez’ tablet. The family found the tablet in Amber and Vasquez apartment a few days after learning of Amber’s death. The tablet was powered down and not used immediately. Alyssa later used the tablet to research if her infant child has a specific illness. She was checking for a video on YouTube and discovered previous searches for “how hard is a human head” and “how to sharpen a machete.”

    Alyssa showed the searches to her father, Adolfo Lechuga, and the tablet was given to law enforcement authorities.

    Alyssa was asked about the text messages originally believed to be sent by Amber early on Sept. 25. Alyssa said the texts seemed odd right away because Amber texted differently. Alyssa said her sister typed “a while” as a single word and left the ‘g’ off “going” which was not the case with this text.

  14. #14
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    Video searches come to light at Vasquez trial

    http://www.mankatofreepress.com/news...b6a47d6ca.html

    Court proceedings Thursday during the ongoing murder trial of Miguel Vasquez centered on a tablet found in Vasquez's apartment with incriminating video searches in the device's web history.

    "Did you guys ever get my tablet?" Vasquez was heard asking his sister, Janet Vasquez, in a recorded phone call he made from prison in October 2014, following his arrest. The phone call was played in court. "I was thinking that there was something in there, that I can't have...I wish you guys had that tablet."

    Lechuga's sister, Alyssa, testified to finding two prior searches in the history of the YouTube application on the tablet when she went to use it. One asked how hard or thick the human skull is and the other how to sharpen a machete.
    Shawn Hughes, a former digital forensic specialist for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified in court Thursday to handling the device as part of the initial investigation to extract its data as evidence. He also found the searches in the YouTube application, but he said it is not possible to know who made the searches or when they were made.

    Vasquez's defense attorneys objected to the use of the phone call because much of the call was in Spanish that was not translated for its use in court. They argued the pieces in English that included mention of the tablet were possibly taken out of context, but the objection was overruled by Brown County District Judge Robert Docherty.

    The state also called several witnesses from the BCA who worked on the investigation to discuss blood found on a mattress, gun, tote and a t-shirt in Vasquez's apartment and fingerprints found on the gun and knives that were collected. The blood stains matched Lechuga's DNA.

  15. #15
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    http://www.nujournal.com/news/local-...-of-testimony/

    The mental state of defendant Miguel A. Vasquez was the focus of Monday’s testimony. The prosecution attempted to show Vasquez was aware of his actions and was culpable in the death of Amber Lechuga.

    Dr. Katheryn Cranbrook was retained by the prosecution to provide a psychological evaluation of Vasquez. Cranbrook testified that she was reasonably sure Vasquez did not meet the criteria for the mental-illness defense.

    Cranbrook said extreme trauma could cause some memory loss, but a total lack of memory is unlikely without mood altering chemicals or a head injury.

    Cranbrook acknowledged a person could develop dissociative amnesia from committing a violent act, but Vasquez claims to have no memory of a violent act.

    “The question is not about this memory after the event, but whether he knew it was wrong afterward,” Cranbrook said. “At the time I saw him, my impression was he feinted the condition of memory loss to avoid legal consequences.”
    A second psychological review of Vasquez was conducted by forensic psychologist Dr. Robin Ballina. She was retained by the court to determine if Vasquez was competent to stand trial.

    Ballina testified that Vasquez showed no sign of mental illness and has provided three versions of the events on Sept. 25.

    In all three stories, Lechuga comes home early in the morning and heads to bed. In the first story, Vasquez told police he had no further contact with Lechuga. In a later account he heard two gun shots after she came home, and he saw her with a gun. A third account included hearing shots, but not seeing Lechuga with the gun.
    Burn trauma surgeon Dr. Fredrick Endorf reviewed Vasquez’ injuries and said they were inconsistent with his story. Vasquez claimed to have woken up on fire in a burning van and that he was forced to remove his clothes. Endorf said, based on this story, Vasquez should have sustained third-degree burns. But Vasquez only presented minor first-degree and second-degree burns.

    Endorf said the nature of the burns suggests Vasquez was not wearing a shirt at all when exposed to the fire. Vasquez’ back showed no sign of burns, which is unusual if his shirt was on fire. Endorf characterized Vasquez’ injuries as flash burns, which are more consistent with an individual starting a fire.

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