Murder verdict will stand; judge says lack of ethnic diversity on teen's jury did not show race discrimination.
A judge overruled the motion for a new trial for a Storm Lake teen who was found guilty of first-degree murder in February.
Rene Zarate, 17, was found guilty by a Buena Vista County jury in the stabbing death of Jorge Ramos, 47, of Storm Lake. Ramos had been stabbed over 50 times in May of 1999.
In the motion for a new trial, Zarate's defense attorneys, Matthew Sheeley and Jennifer Larson, said evidence presented in the trial did not support the guilty verdict and that Zarate did not get an impartial trial.
Judge John Duffy denied the motion for a new trial, stating in court documents that evidence supported the jury's verdict and that the jury was not biased. Sentencing will be Thursday.
Defense attorneys claimed that the rise in Buena Vista County's Hispanic population over the last 10 years created "financial and social burdens," which prejudiced the jurors against a Hispanic defendant.
Read the rest of this story in the 4/03 Pilot Tribune.