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Witness says teen helped alleged killer of 31-year-old Diana Pesserl from West Bloomfield Township

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 18:57:22-05

Witnesses spoke before a judge on Friday during a hearing connected to the murder of 31-year-old Diana Pesserl.

Police found her shot to death in a burning car on the shuttered Pine Lake Elementary School property just blocks from her house last month.

Det. Sgt Eric Gruenwald testified 18-year-old Desean Smith showed up at his friend 19-year-old Jaylen Stringer’s family’s house in West Bloomfield after he killed Diana.

“He (Smith) opened his coat, showed him a gun, and said I had to kill the bitch,” Gruenwald testified Stringer told him.

DeSean Smith is now charged with arson and murder. Jaylen Stringer of West Bloomfield is charged with tampering with evidence - and accessory to murder after the fact.

“I located a 38-caliber revolver broken down into pieces in a clear plastic bag,” said D. Sgt Gruenwald.

Stringer’s attorney said his client is an innocent witness who did what he did to protect his family.  Smith’s attorney suggested his client may have been set-up.

Pesserl’s family sat in the courtroom and listened to testimony. They did not wish to go on camera, but said Diana was a loving and kind person, who lived without fear. They believe her killer took advantage of that.

The purpose of the hearing is to decide whether there is enough evidence for it to move forward.  It is scheduled to continue on February 9 when several more witnesses will take the stand.