TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – As of late Thursday afternoon, the jury was sent into deliberation and came out with a verdict on the Tippecanoe County trial of 33-year-old Misael Sanchez.
Sanchez was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, which has a sentence ranging from six to 20 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for next month.
Thursday morning, the jury finished watching a taped police interview where Sanchez explained how he got $10,000 out of the bank, obtained important documents, picked up his children and tried fleeing to Mexico.
Testimony wrapped up around noon on Thursday. Closing arguments, which began at 1 p.m., concluded around 2:30 p.m.
The jury deliberated between two charges murder or voluntary manslaughter. About three hours later, the jury came to a decision. The jury found Sanchez guilty of voluntary manslaughter, which holds a lesser sentence time. If they would have found him guilty of murder, Sanchez would have faced 45 to 65 years behind bars.
In the state’s final argument, prosecutors said Sanchez threatened to kill Marisol Arze-Lujan. In his video interview, he said Arze-Lujan told him he “didn’t have the balls to kill her.” Prosecutors said the only reason she would respond with that is if Sanchez threatened to kill her.
Prosecutors also said sudden heat isn’t a factor because the argument between Sanchez and Arze-Lujan was a routine argument between a couple.
In his statement, Sanchez said during the argument Arze-Lujan was mad because he had been out drinking the night before. He said she was telling him she was going to cheat on him again, but prosecutors said that’s not true.
Prosecutors said it was impossible for her to be cheating because she shared a phone with Sanchez and didn’t have time between work and her three children.
Prosecutors also said this didn’t happen under sudden heat because he strangled her for 16 minutes and then made rational decisions — trying to not wake up the baby, being worried about the blood, and dressing her after she had died.
Prosecutors said bottom line, he told her he was going to kill her and he did it.
The defense said they are not trying to justify what he did. It was a crime. When it comes to the evidence the defense said everything Sanchez told police was consistent with the evidence.
The defense pointed out areas of areas of the investigation that may question the credibility of some of the testimonies. They also question the integrity of the case and asked the jury to evaluate those points as they consider the evidence and come up with a verdict.
When it comes to how long Sanchez choked Arze-Lujan, the defense said they know he said he did it for about 16 minutes, but they said that’s just not possible to hold someone up by their neck when they are unconscious for that long.
He also pointed out that Detective Herb Robinson agreed that anger got the best of him the day he killed Arze-Lujan.