Suspect in VA hospital killing back in court

Apr 2, 2013

A 33-year-old Sedalia man charged with killing a fellow VA hospital patient in Columbia is due back in court after an earlier delay.

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

A preliminary hearing was postponed in March and rescheduled to Tuesday in Boone County Circuit Court.
Perez had been 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.