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Bail set at $750K for Nelson, told cops he planned Montevideo., Minn. killing for week

MONTEVIDEO -- Unconditional bail was set at $750,000 this morning for Darek Jon Nelson, 24, of Montevideo, who faces murder and manslaughter charges for the stabbing death of 18-year-old Vinessa Lozano Friday night in Montevideo.

Nelson made his first appearance before District Judge Dwayne Knutsen in Chippewa County District Court.

According to the complaint, Nelson began planning to kill Lozano on Jan. 9, after he became upset that Lozano didn't come to his home on Jan. 8. Nelson told investigators that he hid a knife in his hooded sweatshirt while he worked his shift at the Pizza Ranch restaurant. He then ambushed co-worker Lozano from behind as she left the restaurant, stabbing her more than 30 times.

The last portion of the stabbing was captured on the video recorder of the first Montevideo Police squad car responding to the scene. Lozano also identified Nelson as her killer to the responding officer. She later died at the Chippewa County-Montevideo Hospital.

During the incident, Nelson also chased away another restaurant worker who attempted to come to Lozano's aid during the stabbing.

Lozano's mother and stepfather, Robin and Dalton Savoy, of Montevideo and her father, Eric Lozano, of Willmar, attended the hearing. The Savoys said they have been overwhelmed by community support since their daughter's death.

"I wish we had the death penalty in Minnesota," Eric Lozano said after the hearing.

Both sets of parents want to see the case go before a grand jury, which is required under Minnesota law for a first-degree murder charge. Prosecutors must prove that a defendant acted with intent to kill for a first-degree murder charge. The punishment is life in prison as the state does not have the death penalty.

Nelson's parents were also in the hearing. According to Montevideo Police, Darek Nelson had no criminal history and police officers didn't have contact with him.