Some pretrial legal positioning in a metro murder case lit the fires of debate over U.S. immigration policies on Friday. Sergio Martinez-Perez is accused of killing 93-year old Louise Sollowin. Some believe that immigration policy failed her.
The defendant in the case is an illegal immigrant. Authorities say he raped and severely beat Ms. Sollowin. She died shortly afterward.
While attorneys brought a pretrial motion in the case to court of Friday, a crowd gathered on the steps of the courthouse to voice support for the victim's family and lash out at the cracks in immigration law.
Dozens rallied. They said Louise didn't have to die this way.
Chris Baker told the group, "By ignoring the rule of law we will turn our nation into the exact same lawless corrupt cesspool that these people flee."
Iowa Representative Steve King said, "You know that there are more and more illegal aliens in the U.S. They do come from violent societies."
Sollowin's family members say Louise didn't have to die and they don't want anyone else to have to deal with the pain they've felt.
Bill Hartzell said, "Our anger isn't necessarily that he's illegal. Our anger is that this was completely, totally preventable."
Teresa Hartzell added, "I'm second-generation. Born in this country. I understand wanting to come and have a better life. I totally understand that. Everyone in my family did recently. It's how, it's how."
With the rally in progress outside, lawyers gathered inside to set up a court date for Martinez-Perez. The case will move back into court in February but the actual trial might not begin until next summer.