New judge tabbed for murder case retrial

Posted at 4:21 PM, Dec 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-27 19:21:01-05

SAN DIEGO - A new judge was selected Tuesday to hear the retrial of a man accused of killing his 19-year-old estranged wife in a men's restroom at San Diego City College more than six years ago.

Armando Perez, 43, who is representing himself, pleaded guilty in November 2014, just as his trial for killing Diana Gonzalez was about to begin.

A three-judge panel of the state's 4th District Court of Appeal determined that Judge Charles Rogers erred by allowing Perez to plead guilty without a lawyer in a case in which he faced life in prison without parole.

The case was returned to San Diego Superior Court, where Perez made a motion to remove Rogers from hearing a retrial, and the case was assigned to Judge Frederic Link.

No new trial date has been set.

Prosecutor Teresa Santana said Perez was a married man with children when he met Gonzalez and got her pregnant the day she turned 18.

Perez and Gonzalez were married in December 2009 and he began beating her a few months later after they moved in together, Santana 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.

The defendant had told the victim that he would kill her if she ever tried to leave him, the prosecutor said.

Perez fled to Mexico after the killing and remained a fugitive until he was arrested by Tijuana police in February 2012 and returned to San Diego.