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Man Accused of Murdering His Estranged Wife - Updated November 2017

Michael B. Cohen Esq. is a Criminal Defense Attorney who has handled many cases like the one explained below.
His main office is in North Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a conveniently located office downtown by the Broward County Courthouse and a third location in West Palm Beach for those who live north of the city.

Original Article:
In his first court appearance this past Wednesday, the defendant Armando Perez screamed out a plea of guilty as the judge observed, a short time after his lawyer had already entered a plea of not guilty.

In spite of Mr. Perez’s loud protest, defendants are not permitted to plead guilty during the arraignment period of a felony case as recorded by a California statute. A guilty plea can only be made once the defense attorney has reviewed all the evidence in the case and it has been determined that the defendant is mentally competent.

Perez, 39 was accused of stabbing his estranged 19-year-old wife Diana Gonzalez to death, in San Diego, California and was ordered to remain in custody without bail. The couple had been married for less than nine months when the homicide transpired.

Perez said' Why did you tell me to plead not guilty, man?' in a conversation with his criminal defense lawyer as they were leaving the courtroom after his plea hearing, based on comments by a KPBS radio reporter. 'I'm guilty, all right? I'm guilty!' In an interview from the jail Perez told NBC7 news that on the day of Gonzalez's death he just completely 'lost it' and wasn't himself, while he insists that the murder was not planned in advance.

'Diana didn't deserve this and that's why I'm here. There's no justification; I'm not saying excuses. In my case I think the only thing I would say is that I'm guilty. But not of first degree murder,' he said.

Perez is accused of murdering Ms. Gonzalez, the mother of their daughter who was just several months old at the time of the killing. Prosecutors allege that Perez then fled to Mexico for more than a year to escape the charges.

Perez purportedly was stalking Gonzalez where she was enrolled in an evening nursing course at San Diego City College on the evening of the crime. Her family had been waiting for her outside the school, as they apprehensive of her welfare due to the fact that just two weeks prior she’d filed a restraining order against Perez accusing him of kidnapping her during which time she said he raped and strangled her over a period of three days. Perez was not prosecuted for that allegation as evidence against him was vague at best. Regrettably, Perez got to her first. He allegedly dragged her into a nearby men's bathroom where he stabbed her causing multiple wounds that lead to her death.

After running off to Mexico and after 16 months in the wind, even though he was instantly identified as the suspect, he was finally arrested in Tijuana in February by authorities from both countries. Perez was extradited back to the U.S. on the agreement that the prosecution would not to pursue the death penalty as the penalty of death in Mexico was abolished in 2005. He will face a maximum of life imprisonment without parole.

Updated - November 2017
Perez, who is now 44 years old was sentenced last month to life in prison without any possibility of parole.
He told the Superior Court Judge overseeing the case that he wished he would have gotten the death penalty.
The judge replied harshly, saying that he would have faced the death penalty if not for the extradition laws agreed to with Mexico.

Mr. Cohen is a Fort Lauderdale homicide defense specialist in cases of this type and can assist no matter how hopeless a situation may appear. Whether the prosecution appears to have concrete evidence, or if a decision for a plea bargain is offered, his use of a well-planned defense can deliver the best outcome possible under the law. Please click here to find out more about his services and find out what you should do next if you find that a murder charge has been filed or an investigation involving you, a friend or family member is underway.