A Sept. 14 trial date was confirmed Monday for a Murrieta man accused of killing his police officer wife and setting their house ablaze to cover up the crime.
Freddy Perez Rodas, 29, could face 50 years to life in prison if convicted of the July 23, 2014, slaying of 25-year-old Laura Perez, an Escondido police officer and mother of his now-5-year-old daughter.
Rodas is charged with first-degree murder, arson and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. He’s being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center.
Rodas appeared with his public defender Monday before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark, who set the trial date during a status conference.
Murrieta police investigators allege that Rodas shot his wife in the chest three times during a domestic dispute in their house at 24562 Grand Oaks Court. He allegedly took her body to a Moreno Valley storage locker, then returned to the house and set fire to it.
Fire crews arrived minutes later and quickly extinguished the flames, immediately identifying the cause of the blaze as arson, according to Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.
He said Rodas, who called to report the fire, had also reported his wife missing, indicating she might still be in the house. The story raised suspicions and Rodas was detained.
“During questioning, Rodas admitted killing his wife and burning the location in an attempt to cover up the crime,” Conrad said in announcing the arrest.
The defendant allegedly led detectives to where he had dumped his wife’s remains.
The couple’s daughter was not harmed during the shooting and subsequent fire. She is now in the care of extended family.
— City News Service