New arraignment set for Rudy Perez, VA homicide suspect

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 1:22 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The suspect in the Feb. 1 beating death of a fellow patient at Truman Veterans Hospital was bound over Tuesday morning to the 13th Circuit Court where he is scheduled to be arraigned next week.

The arraignment is set for 1:30 p.m. April 8 with Judge Christine Carpenter.

Rudy Perez Jr., 33, was charged with the first-degree murder of Robert O. Hill, 78, while both were patients at the hospital. According to the probable cause statement, Perez attacked Hill, striking him on the head and face while they were in a common area. After being separated they were placed back in the same room. Three hours later Perez attacked Hill again. According to the statement, Perez forced Hill onto the floor, knelt over him and struck him multiple times in the head and face.

His defense attorney, David Tyson Smith, said previously that Perez has schizophrenia and was off his medication at the time of the attack.

At his Feb. 7 arraignment in associate Circuit Court, Smith placed a plea of not guilty by "reason of mental disease."

Perez is facing an additional six charges in Pettis County for a string of assaults against his neighbor, parents and a jail officer in the week before he was transported to the Veterans Hospital.

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