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Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2012

Commune leader ordered to trial in Kansas death case

June 7, 2012

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— The self-proclaimed leader of a Kansas commune that lived off life insurance payouts of its dead members has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of premeditated first-degree murder.

Sedgwick County District Judge Clark Owens entered the order Thursday at the end of a preliminary hearing for 52-year-old Daniel U. Perez.

Perez is accused in the 2003 death of Patricia Hughes at a compound near Wichita. It was initially listed as accidental.

Defense lawyers contended there was not enough evidence to put Perez on trial. Owens disagreed and scheduled a jury trial for July 30.

Perez did not speak at Thursday's proceeding. The judge entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to charges including murder, rape, sodomy, sexual exploitation of a child and lying on life insurance applications.

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