43ºF

Dashcam video shows teens near scene where West Bloomfield woman's body was found in torched car

2 teens charged in Diana Pesserl's murder

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – Dashcam video shown at trial Friday placed two teens near a scene where a woman's body was found Dec. 9, 2016, in her torched car.

Desean Smith and Jaylen Stringer are on trial for Diana Pesserl's murder.

Pesserl was sitting in her car in West Bloomfield when Smith allegedly shot her to death, and her car was set on fire during a robbery, police said. An officer testified that her body was discovered when police pried open the trunk of her car to make sure the fire was out.

A police officer encountered Smith and Stinger in a parked vehicle not far from where Pesserl was killed hours after the fire. She suspected they were up to no good, but had no evidence against the men.

"I haven't been to the fire yet but these guys are hanging out here. I don't know if this has anything to do with it or not," the officer can be heard saying in video released from the night.

The officer questioned the men before letting them leave.

Case background

The prosecution laid out the evidence against the men last year. Smith is charged with murder while Stringer is charged with evidence tampering -- he's accused of helping Smith hide the gun. 

Pesserl's body was found Dec. 9 inside her burning car in West Bloomfield. Investigators testified in court that shoe prints led them almost everywhere they needed to go. 

Diana Pesserl
Diana Pesserl

Smith's shoe prints were found at Pesserl's home and near the spot where police first confronted him and Stringer. Police stumbled upon Smith and a friend at a nearby boat ramp, and they later realized shoe prints there matched the ones at the crime scene.

"The tread pattern of those shoes I was provided with by Stringer matched every location," Officer Jonathan Jacob testified. "He said those are the shoes that Mr. Smith was wearing overnight."

A gun and bullets were found in the heat vents of Stringer's home. 

During the first hearing, the detective on the case described part of his conversation with Stringer. 

"He told me that Deasean came into his house that night and told him that he needed some assistance. He told me he opened the band, showed a gun and said, 'I had to kill the b***," Det. Eric Gruenwald, of the West Bloomfield Police Department, testified. 

Officials believe Pesserl was sitting in her car listening to music, which she often did.

photo

About the Authors: