2nd man charged in case of West Bloomfield woman found killed in burning car

Diana Pesserl found shot to death in burning car

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – A second person has been arrested and charged in connection to the murder of a West Bloomfield woman who was found dead Dec. 9 in a burning car. 

Diana Pesserl died of a single gunshot wound to her abdomen, according to medical officials. An 18-year-old man was arrested Monday in connection with the case.

Jaylen Steven Stringer, 19, faces evidence tampering and accessory after the fact in relation to a homicide charges. He was arraigned Friday morning and is being held at the Oakland County Jail on a $250,000 bond. DeSean Maurice Smith was charged earlier this week with arson, felony firearm and open murder in Pesserl's death.

Police said Smith was visiting a childhood friend just a few houses down from Pesserl, but that he has no connection to her.

Officials believe Pesserl was sitting in her car listening to music, which she often did, when Smith left his friend's house and allegedly killed her. Stringer is accused of helping Smith cover up the murder. 

"Smith returned approximately an hour and a half later and showed (a person) the butt of a firearm in his waistband," Detective Derek Kane said. "(Smith said), '(Pesserl) tried to grab my pistol so I had to shoot her.' Detectives later found a .38 pistol and 10 rounds of ammunition."

In the courtroom Monday, Smith told the judge he isn't a flight risk because he's not a threat and that he's innocent of the charges.

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About the Authors:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.