DOWNTOWN: City College murder suspect removed from court room
(CNS) – A man's insistence on reading a statement at his
arraignment on charges of killing his estranged wife prompted a judge Thursday to
remove the defendant from the courtroom and have a not guilty plea entered on
Armando Gabriel Perez, 39, is charged with murder and lying in wait in
the Oct. 12, 2010, death of his 19-year-old estranged wife, Diana Gonzalez,
whose body was found in a men's restroom at San Diego City College.
When Perez said he wanted to read something, Judge Peter Deddeh stopped
him, telling him the purpose of the hearing was to enter a plea and not to make
When Perez insisted on reading what appeared to be a lengthy statement,
Deddeh said the defendant was being uncooperative and had him removed from the
courtroom and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
“He (Perez) doesn't have a right to do that,” the judge said before
setting a status conference for March 21.
Perez was arrested in Tijuana a year ago and handed over to San Diego
authorities six months later. He was ordered to stand trial earlier this month.
Deputy District Attorney Teresa Santana told a judge at Perez's initial
arraignment last August that he and the victim wed in December 2009 and had a
baby daughter a week later. Perez had a history of domestic violence against
Gonzalez and, at one point, told the victim he would kill her or her family if
she ever left him, the prosecutor alleged.
When she enrolled in classes at San Diego City College in the fall of
2010, Perez went with her even though he was not enrolled, Santana said.
The night of the murder, the victim's family gave her a ride to school
and students in her class noticed Perez perched in a tree and later saw him
waiting for her, according to the prosecutor.
The victim's parents reported her missing, and later a man discovered
her body in a men's restroom on campus. She had been stabbed in the neck and
all over her body, Santana said.
Perez faces life in prison without parole if convicted. U.S. authorities
agreed not to seek the death penalty in return for the defendant's
extradition from Mexico.