Hearing set for suspect in VA hospital killing

Monday, March 4, 2013 | 7:23 a.m. CST; updated 9:13 a.m. CST, Monday, March 4, 2013

COLUMBIA — A 33-year-old Sedalia man charged with killing a fellow VA hospital patient in Columbia is due back in court.

Rudy Perez Jr. is charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 1 death of 78-year-old Robert Hill of Warsaw at Truman Veterans Hospital. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. His attorney, David Tyson Smith, said Perez is schizophrenic.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday afternoon in the 13th Circuit Court for Boone County.

Perez was arrested in Sedalia three days before Hill's death after a neighbor said Perez punched him in the face. He was released from the Pettis County Jail 24 hours later without being charged but now also faces assault charges in that county.

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