UPDATE: May 30, 2012
A final witness to take the stand in a preliminary hearing said the man charged with murder had multiple personalities.
Daniel Perez is facing first-degree murder charges in Patricia Hughes’ 2003 drowning death. Her body was found in a pool behind a Valley Center home. The death was originally classified as an
accident, but now investigators say Perez killed her.
A 30-year-old witness testified she met Perez when she was 15-years-old in North Dakota. She said they had a sexual relationship. She said she trusted him, because he called himself a messenger.
She said they moved to South Dakota where they met Patricia and Brian Hughes and Mona and Lindsay Griffith. They also met Jennifer Hutson after moving to Missouri. The witness said they were considered “family,” but that all five had died.
Perez is also charged with multiple child sex crimes. The witness testified Perez forced her to watch him sexually assault young girls. She said Perez would often kiss and hug young girls who lived on the compound near Valley Center.
The witness said Perez had a drinking problem, and portrayed many personalities. She said when he was “Amber” she didn’t want to be around. She said he often threatened others, even pulled a gun on young girls.
A Sedgwick County judge has scheduled closing preliminary arguments for June 7. He will then decide whether there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.
UPDATE: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A witness who was just 12-years-old when Patricia Hughes died testified that Daniel Perez was a "seer" and he foretold Hughes death.
The now 21-year-old woman told the court during Perez' preliminary hearing, that Perez, who she knew as Lou Castro, met with her and Hughes two weeks before Hughes death. Hughes was fine with what was going to happen and said she would return from the dead at a later time.
On June 26, 2003, the witness said Perez instructed her to stay in a shop area at the compound in the 9500 block of north Oliver with Hughes two-year-old daughter until he came to get her. The witness said before she went to the shop, she was crying and told Hughes she was going to miss her. Hughes hugged her daughter good-bye and the witness took the girl to the shop area and waited.
The witness said she heard a splash and a scream. That's when Perez came in and told her to wait 20 minutes so he could get to Davis Moore before she called 911.
The 12-year-old did what Perez told her to do. She then followed Perez' instructions, taking the little girl to the pool and getting in with her so they were both wet. She said she could see Hughes in the shallow end, face down and bleeding. She then called 911.
The witness recounted what happened when emergency crews arrived. She told them exactly what Perez had instructed her to say. She and Hughes were cleaning the pool when the little girl fell in. Both she and Hughes jumped in to save her, but Hughes hit her head and couldn't swim.
The witness said she kept her secret until last year when investigators questioned her. She was a freshman in college and said she had realized that Perez was controlling her life and she was tired of it.
"I didn't think it was murder, but I knew I took place in covering up someone's death," she said.
During the two hour testimony, the witness also explained that Perez had everyone who lived at the compound convinced that he could predict the future, even predicting the death of her mother. In 2008, her mother died in a head on collision with a dump truck.
Perez is not only charged with Hughes' murder, but sex crimes against children. Thursday's witness said Perez talked to her when she was 10, saying he wanted her to "be his" and "in order for him to survive he need a pure person, a pure person a young girl, to survive."
He told her he needed oral sex to survive.
The witness said Perez told her he was hundreds of years old, but his body was 30. She testified that he raped her, her sister and another young girl at the compound hundreds of times over the years.
The judge is expected to rule whether there is enough evidence against Perez to send the case to trial.
UPDATE: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A woman who claimed she had a relationship with a man charged with murder said he asked her to lie about finances.
The woman took the stand in Sedgwick County District Court Wednesday in the preliminary hearing against Daniel Perez. The 52-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the 2003 drowning death of Patricia Hughes. He also faces multiple child sex crimes.
The witness said she met Perez, also known as Lou Castro, around 2002 or 2003 when she was 17-years-old. She said they started a relationship a year later. The two have a child together.
The woman said Perez proposed to her, although they never had a wedding. She said they were committed to each other and considered themselves married.
Perez asked the woman to put auto loans in her name, she said, because he claimed the loans couldn’t be in his name. She also said he asked her to put false information on the loan applications, including income working for Perez.
The witness said she applied for life-insurance policies after their daughter was born, however, Perez did not. She said Jennifer Hutson was the beneficiary on her life-insurance policy. Hutson died in a Butler County accident in 2008.
The woman said she confronted Perez last year about allegations that he raped other girls. She said he denied the crimes. The witness said they are no longer a couple, and have not talked to each other since.
Prosecutors are expected to call witnesses who claim Perez sexually assaulted them later Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A coroner has testified drowning killed a Valley Center woman, however, it is unclear whether the death was an accident, homicide or suicide.
Dr. Mary Dudley is testifying in the preliminary hearing against Daniel Perez. He is charged with Patricia Hughes’ 2003 death, as well as multiple child sex crimes. Hughes’ body was pulled from a pool at a Valley Center home.
Hughes’ death was originally classified as a homicide, but investigators reopened the case after family members questioned life-insurance policies.
Dudley testified three marks on Hughes’ head indicated blunt force trauma injuries. The coroner said it is unclear what caused the injuries.
One of the injuries above Hughes’ right eye appeared to be one-quarter inch thick, Dudley said. She said the injury could have been caused by Hughes hitting the side of pool, or a beer bottle.
Dudley also testified the injuries could have occurred after Hughes’ died.
A judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.