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Minn. man fit to stand trial in fatal stabbing

MONTEVIDEO, Minn. – A murder case against a 25-year-old Montevideo man accused in a fatal stabbing is moving forward.

Judge Dwayne Knutsen last week confirmed an earlier order finding Darek Jon Nelson mentally competent to stand trial in the Jan. 13 slaying of his co-worker, Vinessa Lozano, 18, at the Pizza Ranch in Montevideo. A grand jury has indicted Nelson on a charge of first-degree premeditated murder.

Court records allege Nelson had concealed a knife in a hooded sweatshirt at work and told investigators he planned to kill Lozano if she continued to reject his interest in her. On the night of the fatal stabbing, Nelson had placed a note on Lozano’s shoulder stating “I love you.” She crumpled the note and threw it away, according to statements a witness gave investigators.

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