Grand jury convenes for local murder case
A grand jury has been called to determine whether to seek first-degree murder charges against Miguel Vasquez, 26, for the September 25 killing of his 23-year-old Springfield girlfriend Amber Lechuga.
Vasquez is accused of murdering the woman, dismembering her body and attempting to burn the remains in a van near Sleepy Eye on September 25, according to the criminal complaint.
Vasquez was charged with second-degree murder on October 3, and his Rule 8 hearing took place on October 14. Since that hearing the Brown County Attorney’s office has been seeking additional evidence needed for a grand jury to be called for a possible indictment.
The Brown County Attorney’s Office filed to convene a grand jury on Friday, December 26.
The grand jury, that consists of 16-23 jurors, will convene for three days — January 5, 6 and 7.
Minnesota requires a grand jury to deliberate whether first-degree murder charges should be brought against an individual. The process is secret and only final determinations are ever released to the public. First-degree murder convictions carry an automatic life sentence in prison.
The second-degree murder charge will stand against Vasquez if the grand jury does not indict him for first-degree murder.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s office will lead the case’s prosecution with assistance from the Brown County Attorney’s Office.
Newly-elected County Attorney Chuck Hanson will take office on January 5. Hanson previously stated he would support efforts to pursue first-degree murder charges in this case.