Trial begins for Lafayette man accused of murder

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – Jury selection is complete for the trial of a Lafayette man accused of murdering the mother of his children last year.

Misael Sanchez, 33, is accused of murdering Marisol Arze-Lujan, 25, who was found dead in her Lafayette apartment on March 21, 2013. Jury selection completed at 1 p.m. Opening statements started around 2:30 Thursday afternoon.

In the opening statements, after sharing details about what they said happened the night of the murder, prosecutors asked the jury to return a guilty verdict for murder.

In the defense’s opening statements Sanchez’s attorneys said the evidence the state shows will show Sanchez killed Arze-Lujan. However, the defense attorney’s said it happened under sudden heat. Sudden heat distinguishes the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter from murder. Sudden heat is characterized by rage, terror or resentment that obscures the reason of an ordinary person.

The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing did not happen under sudden heat. If the jury finds it did happen under sudden heat, Sanchez will be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and not murder.

After opening statements, the jury heard from the first officer on the scene and a detective working the case.

The officer said he went to the apartment complex to follow up a call of an injured woman inside on of the buildings. He said when he banged on the door it opened slightly. That’s when he said he went inside the apartment to see if anyone was hurt. The officer said he found Arze-Lujan’s body slouched over the bathtub.

The detective who took the stand Thursday afternoon explained how Sanchez was located in Arkansas. He said once officers got his cell phone number from neighbors and family members they were able to send out a signal to “ping” it. He said that the ping indicated Sanchez was in Arkansas. He was soon located along with his three children.

As News 18 previously reported, autopsy results show Arze-Lujan died from trauma to her brain. Police said they got a tip that Sanchez was responsible and had left the state.

Captain Kurt Wolf told News 18 in March 2013 that an investigation began into Sanchez immediately following the tip.

“We did some entry into the national crime computer that we were looking for the three children and him, and that’s when they came across him in Arkansas,” Wolf said.

Sanchez and the couple’s three children were found in Clark County, Ark. He was later arrested on preliminary murder charges. His trial began in Tippecanoe County Tuesday.

Sanchez has been referred to as both Misael and Isael in court documents and in the courtroom.

 

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