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Suspected murderer pleads no contest

Jose de Jesus Segundo-Huizar appeared in Elko District Court Monday to change his plea.

ELKO, Nev. — An Jerome man arrested in the 2016 murder and decapitation of a Ryndon, Nev., woman pleaded no contest to first degree murder in a plea deal.

Jose de Jesus Segundo-Huizar, 47, made his plea before Judge Al Kacin in Elko District Court through an interpreter Monday. The plea agreement stipulates that the District Attorney’s office will drop five counts related to the case and not file additional charges.

Segundo-Huizar faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for allegedly killing Carmen Magallanes-Sanchez on or about Aug. 24, 2016. He is not eligible for probation and will be incarcerated in the Nevada State Prison, District Attorney Tyler Ingram said.

Ingram said if the case were tried, the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Segundo-Huizar “with malice aforethought, willfully and with premeditation and deliberation, unlawfully killed another human being, a category A felony.”

The charge comes with three sentencing options: life without the possibility of parole; life with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 20 years; or he could be sentenced to 50 years in prison and eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 20 years.

Court documents read by Kacin said that the victim was struck “on or near her head ... or on another part of her body as yet unknown … [using] a hammer or similar object” before being decapitated.

The five counts dropped included an alternate charge of second degree murder, burglary while in the possession of a firearm or deadly weapon, a category B felony; first degree kidnapping resulting in substantial bodily harm with the use of a deadly weapon, a category A felony; child abuse, a category B felony; and destroying or concealing evidence, a misdemeanor.

At the time of the incident, a child about 9 months old was alleged to have been left in a crib for about 12 hours, resulting in the subsequent child abuse charge, according to previous reports.

During the hearing, Segundo-Huizar admitted to not being a United States citizen, a factor that could result “up to and including removal and deportation from the U.S.,” said Kacin, before asking the defendant if he understood the consequences of his plea.

“I understand perfectly,” Segundo-Huizar said through his court translator, Eloise Mendoza.

Since being incarcerated in October, Segundo-Huizar waived his preliminary hearing in January in Elko Justice Court and initially pleaded not guilty in February.

Magallanes-Sanchez was reported missing by her boyfriend Aug. 24, 2016 and a portion of her body was found by a hunter in a shallow grave off Mountain City Highway 30 miles north of Elko on Sept. 4 and identified by fingerprints 11 days later, according to previous reports.

Segundo-Huizar was tracked to Idaho by sheriff’s detectives where they found him working as a ranch hand.

He was arrested with assistance from the Idaho State Police.

In October, Segundo-Huizar led Elko County Sheriff’s detectives to the location he buried the victim’s head. Since then he has been held in Elko County Jail without bail.

Authorities said at the time a motive for the killing was unclear, but that Segundo-Huizar admitted to an off-and-on relationship with the victim who was also living with someone else at the time of her death.

In a court appearance shortly after his arrest, it was mentioned that the suspect lived with his wife in Jerome, Idaho, and had two grown children in Mexico.

Public Defender Kriston Hill, representing Segundo-Huizar, and Ingram both said that the sentencing hearing could take up to two to three hours to allow for victim impact statements.

A date for sentencing has not been set.

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