Mental illness defense used in Mankato slaying

Published 10:26 am Monday, October 26, 2015

MANKATO — Jury selection gets underway in Blue Earth County District Court in the trial of a man accused of killing a woman with whom he once had a relationship and attempting to kill her husband.

Levi Minissale has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental illness in the slaying of 20-year-old Yesenia “Sunny” Gonzalez at her Mankato home in 2013 and the attempt on her husband’s life.

County Attorney Pat McDermott said jurors will first decide whether Minissale is guilty. A second phase of the trial will focus on whether or not he is innocent by reason of mental disease.

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According to a press release, McDermott  said there are 50 potential witnesses. Police found Gonzalez dead in her house June 6, 2013. Her throat had been cut and her husband, Gallo Buccio Ruiz, had been stabbed.