Man accused of killing wife at City College changes plea - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man accused of killing wife at City College changes plea

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A man accused in the murder of his young wife inside a bathroom at City College abruptly changed his plea to guilty Monday as opening statements were about to begin.

"I wanted to let you know that I want to plead guilty to all charges," Perez told the judge Monday. "I want to be able to let the family heal and not to go through all this. I understand what I'm doing."

Armando Gabriel Perez, 41, was charged with murder and a special circumstance of lying in wait in the Oct. 12. 2010, stabbing death of Diana Gonzalez. He will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on January 16.

Perez fled to Mexico after the killing and remained a fugitive until he was arrested by Tijuana Metropolitan Police in February 2012. He was later extradited to San Diego after prosecutors agreed not to seek his execution, consistent with the absence of the death penalty in Mexico.

He and Gonzalez were married in December 2009 and had a 9-month-old daughter at the time of the murder.

The victim's sister Janette Gonzalez talked to CBS News 8 about the family's reaction to Perez's guilty plea.

"We wish we could have shown the people how bad of a person and monster he was, but I guess this made it easier for us," she said.

At Perez's arraignment in August 2012, Deputy District Attorney Teresa Santana said the defendant told the victim he would kill her or her family if she ever left him.

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 body was 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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