Suspect in VA hospital death to have mental exam

May 1, 2013

A Sedalia man charged with killing a fellow patient at a Columbia veterans' hospital will receive a court-ordered psychiatric exam after an earlier plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

The Columbia Missourian reports that Boone County prosecutors and the lawyer for 33-year-old Rudy Perez Jr. agreed on the medical evaluation at a Monday hearing.

He's charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 1 death of 78-year-old Robert Hill of Warsaw at Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital. Defense attorney David Tyson Smith says Perez is schizophrenic.

An arrest warrant said Perez twice attacked Hill at the hospital. Employees initially separated the two men, but Perez was allowed to return to a common area where Hill was also sent after being treated for injuries.