Murrieta man accused of killing spouse charged

MURRIETA – A Murrieta man accused of killing his police officer wife and setting their house aflame to cover up the crime was charged today with murder and arson.

Freddy Perez Rodas, 27, was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of killing 25-year-old Laura Perez, an Escondido police officer and mother of his 4-year-old daughter.

Along with the felony counts, Rodas, is facing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

Rodas was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

After appointing him a public defender, Clark took Rodas’ plea and scheduled a felony settlement conference in the case for Aug. 15. Rodas is being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center.

Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad alleged that Rodas shot his wife in the chest three times during a domestic dispute sometime Wednesday in their house at 24562 Grand Oaks Court. Perez died at the scene, after which Rodas allegedly took her body to a Moreno Valley storage locker, then returned to the house and set fire to it.

Fire crews arrived around 6:30 p.m. and quickly extinguished the flames, immediately identifying the cause of the blaze as arson, Conrad said.

Conrad said Rodas, who called to report the fire, had also reported his wife missing, indicating she might still be in the house. The story raised suspicions and Rodas was detained, according to Conrad.

”During questioning overnight, Rodas admitted killing his wife and burning the location in an attempt to cover up the crime,” Conrad alleged.

Rodas took detectives to where he had dumped his wife’s remains, according to Conrad.

Conrad said the couple’s daughter was not harmed and is in the care of extended family. Investigators did not reveal the child’s whereabouts her mother was killed, but Rodas was booked on suspicion of child endangerment, though prosecutors elected not to file that charge.

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