North County man charged with killing his girlfriend and leaving her body along I-15

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Opening statements started Wednesday for the trial for the man accused of killing his girlfriend, then ditching her body in a car on the side of the freeway in Escondido.

Edward Long is accused of shooting Elizabeth Perez in the head then leaving her body in the driver’s seat of her car near an onramp along Interstate 15 back in June 2016.

A passerby reported finding the car with smashed out windows and a bloodied body in the driver’s seat, which had been fully reclined.

RELATED: Woman found dead in car off Interstate 15 in Escondido

Perez lived in Fontana but regularly visited her boyfriend at his San Marcos home.

The defense declined to present opening statements to the jury. The prosecutor painted a horrific picture of the days before and after Perez’s murder.

The prosecution said the last time Perez’s family saw her alive was June 10, 2016 at her sister’s graduation. After that Perez left to spend the weekend at Long’s home in San Marcos. Her body was discovered days later.

RELATED: Arrest made in death of woman found in car

Detectives said they searched Perez’s cellphone, finding four alarming videos.

The prosecutor described a recording showing a frantic Perez, trapped inside of her car in what appeared to be Long’s garage. Long circled Perez’s car and eventually tapped on the car window with pliers, the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor also said Long had another girlfriend, and that the woman and Perez didn’t know about each other.

Days after Perez’s body was found, Long and his other girlfriend were scheduled to meet, then abruptly took off to Las Vegas by the end of the week. Prosecutors said by this time, detectives in San Diego were already watching Long and served a search warrant at his home the same day he and his other girlfriend arrived in Vegas.

Detectives said they found a strong smell of cleaning products in Long’s garage and the floor was wet.  They said they went on to locate burned materials in Long’s trash cans, small bits of shattered glass in the garage, multiple pairs of gloves of a type often used by police, and an old dusty bullet.

The prosecutor said Long admitted to his father that he had killed someone, and said it was an accident. He allegedly told his father he dumped the body and filed the serial number off his gun before getting rid of that, too.

Long’s father is expected to testify during the trial, along with Long’s second girlfriend, the passerby who found Perez’s body, the lead detective on the case, and police officers.

If convicted, Long faces 25 years to life in prison.

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