Guilty plea in Luis Diaz murder


March 3, 2017

(Nashville, TN) One of three men charged in the 2015 murder of Luis Diaz, 23, pled guilty Thursday and will spend the next four decades in prison. James Jaylen Simmons was set to stand trial later this month for the robbery and shooting death of Diaz. Simmons pled guilty to Second Degree Murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison at 100%. A relative reported Diaz missing on July 8, 2015 when he failed to return home from his job at a Murfreesboro Road Sonic restaurant. The victim’s vehicle was located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky six days after his disappearance. Detectives discovered that Simmons shot Diaz inside the vehicle while on Anderson Road in South Nashville and later dumped his body on a farm in Rockvale, Tennessee. Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman read the following victim impact statement from Luis Diaz’s family:

“Luis was a very friendly, happy, social person. He would always find time to help those that needed help.  He started working at a very young age to help out with expenses at home.  Everything that he earned he would give to his mother. Like all young kids, he had great dreams which he now will never be able to accomplish because his life was taken. His mother misses him very much. She suffers from his death and has not been able to move on with her life, she misses her “little Luis” every day. His mother taught him to forgive those who had wronged him and to help those that need help the most. Luis’s mother has forgiven those who killed him, her youngest son, and wishes them blessings because she is not the ultimate judge, life will ensure that they are judged and held accountable. Luis’ mother feels sorry for the families of those who killed him, because they too are suffering like her. Today as a representative of Luis’ mother and family, and as his uncle, we forgive those who killed Luis, because hatred begets hatred. We rather continue our lives with a healing heart, attempting happiness and most of all with a clean conscience.”

Co-defendant Joshua Smith, who worked with Diaz at the Sonic restaurant, is scheduled to stand trial on October 16. A third co-defendant, Xavier Young, is also charged with First Degree Murder but has not yet been scheduled for trial.