SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who stalked his 19-year-old estranged wife after she filed a restraining order against him, then stabbed her to death in a men's restroom at San Diego City College, was sentenced Friday morning to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Armando Gabriel Perez, 41, asked to withdraw his guilty plea and enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, but Judge Charles Rogers refused.
The judge noted that Perez, who represented himself, raised the issue of pleading guilty to premeditated first-degree murder and admitting a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait -- and even insisted on it -- as opening statements in his trial were about to begin in November.
Rogers said he was not about to give Perez another chance to manipulate the justice system, calling the defendant's action "nothing more than a change of mind."
Before sentencing, Perez apologized to Diana Gonzalez's family.
"I've asked myself, how could I have caused you so much pain," the tearful defendant said. "No matter what happens, I'm willing to pay (for Diana's death). I just want to make sure that you heal."
The victim's mother called Perez an "ill-bred bastard" and a "bad man" who was "good for nothing."
"We will never forgive you," Concepcion Carranza told her former son-in-law.
Deputy District Attorney Teresa Santana said the evidence against Perez was overwhelming, noting the defendant told friends days before the Oct. 12, 2010 murder that he was going to kill his wife.
"It was very cold-blooded. It was calculated. It was planned," she said.
Perez even carved the word "bitch" into the victim's back as he killed her, according to the prosecutor.
Perez was a married man with children when he met the victim and got her pregnant the day she turned 18, Santana said. They had a daughter together. Perez and Gonzalez were married in December 2009 and he began beating her a few months later after they moved in together, the prosecutor said.
After Perez abducted Gonzalez in September 2010, she filed a restraining order against him.
The restraining order made Perez angry and he began stalking Gonzalez, ultimately grabbing her as she walked to her car at school, where she was "slaughtered" in a men's bathroom, Santana said.
Perez fled to Mexico after the killing and remained a fugitive until he was arrested by Tijuana Metropolitan Police in February 2012 and returned to San Diego.