Mother of slain woman testifies in prelim that daughter told her that defendant choked her

Estranged husband charged with woman's murder

SAN DIEGO -  

The mother of a 19-year-old woman allegedly murdered by her estranged husband in a San Diego City College restroom testified Monday that her daughter told her that the defendant choked her during a two-day disappearance about a month before she was killed.
   
Concepcion Carranza, testifying in a preliminary hearing for Armando Gabriel Perez, said her daughter, Diana Gonzalez, never came home from a night class at San Diego City College in September 2010, then showed up at the family home two days later with blood all over her face.
   
"She said, ‘Look at what he (Perez) did to me,"' Carranza testified. "He was choking me."
   
Carranza said Perez showed up at the door and her husband got him to leave.
   
The victim's mother said they reported the incident to police and that her daughter took out a restraining order against the defendant.
   
Perez, 39, was arrested in Tijuana a year ago and handed over to San Diego authorities six months later in connection with the Oct. 12, 2010, slaying of Gonzalez.
   
Perez, who is charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, 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.
   
Deputy District Attorney Teresa Santana told a judge at Perez's arraignment in 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, Perez 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 ran from the scene and took the trolley and hid out in Mexico, Santana said.
   
At the end of preliminary hearing, which resumes Wednesday, Judge Robert F. O'Neill will decide if enough evidence was presented for Perez to stand trial.
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