Trial of Accused Killer of 'Zoey Zane' Begins

EL DORADO, Kan.—The trial of the accused killer of Emily Sander—a.k.a. internet model Zoey Zane—began yesterday in an El Dorado courtroom. Israel Mireles is charged with capital murder, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy.

Police began looking for Mireles in 2007 after incriminating evidence led them to consider him a prime suspect in the girl’s murder. However, the Mexican national had fled to Mexico, where local police arrested him in December 2007. Mireles fought extradition for almost two years before being returned to the United States in June 2009 after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty for the killing of the 18-year-old Sander.

During a preliminary hearing yesterday, prosecutors told the story of a night of underage drinking that ended with Sander’s murder in a blood-splattered motel room at the hands of 26-year-old Mireles.

According to the AP, Misty Walton, a friend of Sander’s, also testified that Sander was kissing Mireles at a local bar before leaving with him, never to be seen alive again. Walton said she left the bar when Mireles kept asking her to go back to a hotel with him.

"I started getting uncomfortable with him repeatedly asking me to leave with him," she said.

According to Tommy Juarez, a doorman who worked the door the night of her disappearance, Sander later left with Mireles.

"She seemed happy. ... She just said she would be back. She seemed all right," he said.  

The manager of the motel where Mireles was staying also testified yesterday, saying that he entered the room after finding a torn screen and broken window, only to find blood on the walls, bed and carpet.

That discovery prompted a search for both Sander and Mireles. Six days later, her body was found about 50 miles east of El Dorado.

According to a 2007 article in AVN, "Wichita-based affiliate program signed Sander to her performing contract. The company registered in April and launched the site on Sept. 25."