WYOMING, MICH. - A man in the U.S. illegally and facing charges for a Wyoming homicide that occurred days after his October arrest for drunk driving had one of his two cases resolved.
During a probable cause hearing Wednesday, Nov. 9, on an open murder charge, 43-year-old Raul Perez had the drunken driving case settled.
“This is probably the least of your problems right now,’’ Wyoming District Court Judge Steven Timmers told Perez before placing him on probation for a year and slapping him with $1,550 in fines and costs.
A probable cause hearing on the murder charge was delayed a week to give his defense attorney more time to prepare.
Perez is accused of strangling Karla Guadalupe Magana, 31, at an apartment at 1484 44th St. SW east of Burlingame Avenue. Her body was found Oct. 26 in a bathroom. Wyoming police went there on a welfare check after the suspect’s daughter called police and reported that her father admitted to the slaying.
Perez was found asleep. He confessed to strangling Magana, Wyoming officer Bob Robinson wrote in a probable cause affidavit.
“Perez contacted his daughter by phone and confessed to killing Magana,’’ Robinson wrote, adding that Perez’ daughter phoned police to report the conversation. “Police responded to Perez’ apartment and located Magana deceased. Perez was located in a bed sleeping.’’
The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office on Oct. 27 authorized a warrant charging Perez with open murder and being a third-time felony offender. He was convicted in 2005 of illegal entry into Texas and possession with intent to distribute more than 110 pounds of marijuana.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Kemperman said there has been “a number of concerning communications’’ between relatives of Perez and the victim’s family.
“I don’t know if that is precipitated by Mr. Perez or people acting on his behalf, but it is walking a very fine line of witness intimidation,’’ Kemperman said.
Timmers told Perez that he or others acting on his behalf should have no contact with Magana’s family. Perez will return to court next week.
Court records show that Perez was stopped for suspicion of drunk driving on Oct. 21 after officers saw him driving erratically on Godfrey Avenue near Lee Street SW. A blood alcohol test showed he was above the legal limit for driving. Perez was booked into the Kent County Jail on the drunk driving charge and released Oct. 22.
At the time of his release, officials at the Kent County Jail were unaware that he was in the country illegally. Perez, 43, has been deported from the U.S. twice.
His first deportation order came after he was convicted on a federal marijuana charge in Texas and sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. In Aug. 2005, less than two weeks after he was deported, U.S. Border patrol agents arrested Perez near the southern Texas town of Falfurrias. He was charged with being in the U.S. after a previous deportation.
A federal judge in Texas sentenced him in Jan. 2006 to four months in prison. When he was arrested by Wyoming police, Perez had a driver’s license from Mexico.
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