SAN DIEGO — A man who admitted brutally stabbing his estranged wife in a restroom at San Diego City College turned to thank the jury after he was found guilty of murder, according to a newspaper report.
After the verdict was read and jurors were filing out of the courtroom on Friday, Armando Perez stood a few feet away from them and said, “Thank you” in a loud, clear voice, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/2y87B5h ).
His attorney, Barton Sheela, told the newspaper that Perez had asked him earlier if would be OK to express appreciation to the jurors for their verdict in the grisly killing of Diana Gonzalez, a 19-year old a university student.
Perez, 44, was convicted of first-degree murder and a special-circumstance allegation of lying in wait and faces life in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 16.
Perez took the witness stand last week and admitted he showed up outside his wife’s classroom on Oct. 12, 2010 and waited for her. Gonzalez’s parents, aware of her husband’s growing violence against her, also had gone to City College to pick her up as a safety measure.
While her parents waited for her, Perez accosted Gonzalez in a bathroom and slashed her repeatedly in the chest, neck, face and genital area. He then carved an expletive into her back and left her on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood.
Perez testified that he lost control when he saw his wife kissing another man outside her classroom.
His wife had recently obtained a restraining order against him.
It was the second time that a jury convened to decide whether Perez was guilty of premeditated murder in the death of his wife.
While representing himself in 2014, Perez pleaded guilty just as his trial was set to begin. An appeals court overturned his conviction, ruling that no one facing a sentence of life in prison without parole can plead guilty unless represented by an attorney and Perez was given a new trial.
The case was hard on Gonzalez’ family, said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Lees.
“It was a very gruesome murder and hopefully now Diana can rest in peace,” Lees said.
Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, http://www.utsandiego.com