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Prosecutors seek longer drug sentence against Minn. man convicted in 2002 murder

Joshua Diaz

WILLMAR, Minn. — Convicted of a 2002 murder and released from prison in January, Joshua Diaz could face an extended prison sentence if he is convicted of drug possession charges in a new case against him.

Kandiyohi County prosecutors have filed a motion seeking aggravated sentencing for Diaz, 35, of Clara City, based on his long, violent criminal history.

The county attorney's office filed a motion in Kandiyohi County District Court this week saying that Diaz, if convicted, could appropriately receive a longer sentence than recommended under state sentencing guidelines.

The document refers to Diaz as a "danger to public safety based on his high frequency of activity and the brutality of the assault."

Several convictions were listed in the document including murder and assault convictions in 2003 and an assault charge from 2009, when Diaz was in prison.

Diaz was convicted in Chippewa County of second-degree unintentional murder and two second-degree assault charges in early 2003, the result of a fight at a Granite Falls home that started as a case of mistaken identity.

Diaz was convicted of stabbing Nathan Hoseck, 22, of Hanley Falls, and of assaulting two other men in September 2002 during a fight outside a home in Granite Falls.

The fight started when Diaz and his brother mistook Hoseck's friend for someone else and attacked him. Hoseck, the man who was attacked and another friend, started fighting with the brothers. During the fight, Diaz pulled a knife.

Hoseck died of multiple stab wounds. The other two men were wounded.

Diaz was sentenced in February 2003 to a total of 16 years in prison on the unintentional second-degree murder charge and two assault charges.

Defendants in Minnesota must serve at least two-thirds of a sentence in prison. Diaz served more than two-thirds.

According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections website, he was placed on intensive supervised release in January.

Diaz was arrested Feb. 21 after Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies followed a fleeing suspect into a house in Blomkest. He has been held at the county jail since his arrest.

According to the criminal complaint, the deputies saw drugs and drug paraphernalia in plain sight and obtained a search warrant.

In the subsequent search of the house and suspects, officers found a variety of drug paraphernalia and a total of 100 grams of meth in baggies in rooms in the home. An infant was also in the home.

Five people were arrested, including Diaz.

Diaz allegedly had $980 cash and a 13.2-gram bag of meth in his pocket, according to the criminal complaint.

Diaz faces two felony charges in the February case — first-degree drug possession and storing meth in the presence of a child. He has not yet entered a plea. A jury trial date has been scheduled for Dec. 27.

Diaz is also awaiting trial on two third-degree assault charges. He was accused of assaulting other jail inmates in March and in June. Jail surveillance video showed the assaults, according to court files, and both inmates required stitches after the assaults.

Trials on those charges are scheduled for Oct. 26 and Oct. 27.

State court records list at least a dozen arrests for Diaz beginning about two months after he turned 18. Most of the arrests and convictions were for misdemeanor charges until the murder and assault charges in 2002. Several of the misdemeanors were also assault charges.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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