Murder suspect Mireles captured; won't face death penalty

Julie Anderson

Law enforcement officials announced the capture of Israel Mireles on Wednesday afternoon, during a press conference.

Mireles was arrested at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in Melchor Muzquiz, Mexico, about 70 miles southwest of Eagle pass, Texas, where he was staying with family members.

"Isreal Mireles is wanted in the homicide of Emily Sander in El Dorado," Troy Oberley, with the U.S. Marshals office in Wichita, said.

They were working through state and federal agencies and law enforcement agencies in Mexico for the arrest of Mireles.

"Right now he is in custody in Mexico and we are working on the extradition for him to come back," he said.

There was a bit of a "commotion" when he was arrested.

"I can briefly say he was not willing to return," Oberley said. "No one was hurt."

Law enforcement officials have suspected he has been in Mexico for some time, and were keeping an eye on him until the Mexican warrant was issued.

At one point, there was a family emergency in Texas and they had hoped he would return to the U.S. and turn himself in, although that did not happen.

Jan Satterfield, Butler County district attorney, filed a capital murder charge, the first filed in Butler County since the re-establishment of the death penalty in Kansas.

"The death penalty was triggered because of aggravating factors that have been alleged and charged in this case against Israel Mireles involving Emily Sander," Satterfield said.

Those charges include premeditated first degree murder, rape and aggravated sodomy.

"Those charges trigger capital murder in the state of Kansas and Israel Mireles was charged on Dec. 3 in Butler County with capital murder," she said.

Because they didn't know where he would be found, the capital murder charge was the official warrant. In addition, they sent a certified copy of their warrant to the department of justice. They also prepared provision warrant information to send to Mexico and the Mexican judge and officials had to execute the warrant.

"The promises that had to be made if he was apprehended in Mexico instead of Texas or somewhere in the United States is that we would waive seeking the imposition of the death penalty because of an international agreement with Mexico," Satterfield said.

Satterfield will give assurances that the state of Kansas won't seek the death penalty. She said the important thing is that he will be off of the streets and brought to justice. She did not know if he had gone to Mexico to avoid the death penalty.

"The Mexican officials have been very cooperative," she said.

Everything has to go through the Department of Justice for the warrant to the extradition.

While there is normally 90 days to extradite from state to state, for the foreign extradition, they only have 60 days, with many additional responsibilities.

"Normally autopsy and lab results may take quite a while to get from forensic experts," she said. "We're having to put our efforts together and expedite this case.

"This case must go to the Department of Justice within 30 days and it must be received in Mexico City by Feb. 15, 2008 in order to successfully extradite Israel Mireles."

She also has been working closely with the attorney general's office since day one.

"We have to satisfy the Mexican athorities that we have a sufficient case," she said. "There were some concerns there and initially it was premeditated."

As part of capital murder charge, they have to prove premeditated murder.

Satterfield believes Mireles has retained an attorney or been appointed council, so there won't be any communication with him except through council. He will be held in Mexico City until he is extradited.

Satterfield couldn't speak to any of the facts of the case at this time.

At this time, Satterfield hadn't seen any investigative reports on which to charge family members at this time because their number one priority was finding and arresting Mireles.

His 16-year-old girlfriend Victoria Martens also is known to be in Mexico at this time, although she was not in the same residence at the time of Mireles' arrest. While they believe she is in good health at this time, she is not willing returning to the United States at this time.

"We're just hopeful that she wants to return home," Satterfield said.

She said they could not extradite individuals on a civil process.

"I'm optimistic that one way or another this will get worked out," she said.

Clem Sander, Emily's grandfather, was present for the announcement.

"A wonderful sense of relief," he said of his reaction to the news. "We were beside ourselves. Mama almost cried."

He said not being able to seek the death penalty was not a surprise to him because of what he had known about it.

"I will accept it," he said.

Clem looks at this as the end of this chapter, and now they can get on to the trial.

They have received tremendous support throughout this.

"We've gotten letters from people we've never heard of," Clem said. "It's just been world-wide almost."

The college also has received several donations in Emily's name.

After the announcement, he said he would be headed out to put some pink balloons on Emily's grave and say a few words to her.

El Dorado Times