Jury selection begins for brutal campus murder case - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Jury selection begins for brutal campus murder case

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Jury selection began Tuesday for the trial of a man accused of killing his 19-year-old estranged wife inside a men's bathroom at San Diego City College four years ago.

Nighttime classes were in session were Armando Gabriel Perez, 41, allegedly stabbed Diana Gonzalez to death on Oct. 12, 2010, at the Park Boulevard campus near downtown.

Perez fled to Mexico following the killing and remained a fugitive until he was arrested by Tijuana Metropolitan Police in February 2012. He was later extradited to San Diego.

Opening statements in Perez's trial are expected Monday.

He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder and lying in wait. Authorities agreed not to seek the death penalty in return for his extradition from Mexico.

At the defendant's initial arraignment in August 2012, Perez attempted to defiantly read aloud a written statement that professed his guilt. As a matter of procedure that does not allow such a statement from the defendant, Perez was removed from the courtroom and a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf. Later, a judge granted a motion from Perez to represent himself at trial.

The couple was married for about 10 months and had a daughter who was about nine months old at the time of her mother's death.

Almost immediately after the killing, Perez was named a "person of interest" in the case by San Diego police, who said Gonzalez's numerous stab wounds made it difficult to readily identify her. A short time later, police obtained an arrest warrant charging Perez with murder.

Shortly before her remains were found, Gonzalez's family had reported her missing after she failed to meet them at the school for a ride home. Family members said they had been driving Gonzalez to and from school out of concern that Perez might try to harm her.

A month earlier, Gonzalez accused Perez of repeatedly assaulting her while holding her captive in motel rooms for several days, police said.

Perez was jailed following the complaint made by his young bride but released after four days behind bars when the District Attorney's Office declined to file charges.

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