A Michigan teen charged with the seemingly inexplicable murder of a 31-year-old West Bloomfield mother, who was found dead in her burned car on December 9, will have his day in court on Tuesday.
DeSean Smith, 18, was charged last month with arson, felony firearm possession, and open murder. His suspected accomplice, 19-year-old Jaylen Steven Stringer, was charged with tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact. Both men have denied the charges, and Smith will face a possible life sentence without the possibility of parole if convicted of the murder charge.
Law enforcement officials said Diana Pesserl is believed to have been sitting in her car in her own driveway listening to music when Smith, who was visiting his friend in West Bloomfield, approached the car, asking her for directions and a cigarette. For reasons still unknown, Smith is then believed to have shot the young mother. He then took brought her car to a nearby elementary school, reportedly with Stringer’s help, and set it on fire.
Police told Detroit News that robbery was a possible motive for the senseless murder, and that Smith allegedly confessed the crime to his friend, saying, “The [expletive] tried to grab my gun, so I had to shoot her.’”
An autopsy performed on the victim, who left behind a 6-year-old son, found that she had been shot once through the abdomen.
Tuesday’s preliminary hearing will examine the available evidence and determine if it is sufficient enough for Smith to stand trial. The suspect had an active arrest warrant for an alleged carjacking when he was apprehended for Pesserl’s murder.
Photo: West Bloomfield Police Department