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Trial date set in woman’s 2003 death in Valley Center

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, at 5:36 p.m.

A man who was arrested more than 21 months ago on charges that include murder, rape, sodomy and sexual exploitation of a child will be held in the Sedgwick County Jail at least five more months before going to trial, a judge said Wednesday.

Daniel U. Perez, 53, who witnesses said lived off large life insurance payouts from “family” members, is charged with drowning Patricia Hughes in a pool at his Valley Center compound in 2003.

Witnesses at Perez’s preliminary hearing in May 2012 testified that Perez was the head of a communal “family” that traveled from state to state and lived off insurance payouts made after members of his family died. Evidence showed that after Hughes died in what was originally thought to be an accidental drowning, her life insurance payout was $2 million.

District Judge Joseph Bribiesca, who will preside at Perez’s trial, scheduled the trial for March 31 after conferring with attorneys on both sides of the case.

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