Veterans hospital homicide suspect also facing assault charges

Monday, February 11, 2013 | 5:16 p.m. CST; updated 9:53 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 12, 2013

COLUMBIA — Rudy Perez Jr., the man charged with beating to death a fellow patient at Truman Veterans Hospital, is facing additional assault charges from the Pettis County Prosecutor.

On Sunday, an additional hold was placed on Perez, who is already in custody in the Boone County Jail, after the Pettis County prosecutor filed assault charges against him, said Chief Jailer Warren Brewer. 

Pettis County Prosecutor Jeff Mittelhauser said one case has been filed against Perez, with six different misdemeanor charges.

Perez is accused of assaulting his neighbor on Jan. 29 during an alleged burglary at the neighbor’s residence. Mittelhauser said that charge could be elevated as the victim is still undergoing medical care. 

Perez is additionally charged with domestic assault on each of his parents, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. Those charges are related to an incident on Jan. 31 when Perez’s parents were transporting him to a hospital. His father called the Pettis County Sheriff’s dispatch and requested an ambulance to take his son the rest of the way, saying he was being attacked by his son, said Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond.

Mittelhauser said Perez is also accused of spitting on an officer while in the ambulance, leading to a charge of assault by offensive touching. 

Lastly, he is accused of assaulting a jail officer while in a holding cell.   

Mittelhauser said he has no immediate plans to bring Perez to Pettis County because he is already in jail.

Perez is facing a charge of first-degree murder in Boone County in the Feb. 1 beating death of 78-year-old Robert O. Hill. According to the probable cause statement, Perez, 33, struck Hill on the head and face, then the two were separated but were eventually placed in the same room again. Three hours later, Perez attacked Hill again, forcing him on the floor, kneeling over him and striking him multiple times in the face and head, according to the statement. 

Perez’s attorney David Tyson Smith said Perez pleaded not guilty “by reason of mental disease” and would most likely undergo a medical evaluation to determine if he was competent at the time of the assault. 

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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