A man accused of brutally killing his estranged wife at San Diego City College in 2010 owned up to the murder in court Wednesday and spoke to NBC 7 San Diego exclusively from jail about the deadly crime.
Gonzalez had given birth to the couple’s baby girl a few months before her murder and was taking college classes to become a nurse.
Six months ago, Mexican law enforcement officers caught Perez in Tijuana. He was extradited from Mexico and arrived in San Diego late Tuesday.
On Wednesday night, after the emotional arraignment, Perez spoke exclusively to NBC 7 San Diego from behind bars at San Diego Central Jail.
For nearly 30 minutes Perez tried to explain how he, in his words, “lost it,” back on October 12, 2010, leading to the murder of his estranged wife.
“Diana didn't deserve this and that's why I'm here. There's no justification; I'm not saying excuses. In my case I think the only thing I would say is that I'm guilty. But not of first degree murder,” said Perez.
Perez claimed the crime was not planned, nor was it a crime of passion.
If anything, he said he snapped, but would not go into further detail.
Instead, Perez said that will all eventually come out in court.
“I feel like, um, it wasn't me. But I'm not, I'm not denying nothing,” Perez told NBC 7 San Diego.
Perez admitted he and Gonzalez had a tumultuous relationship, and their young daughter, Chrystal, was at the center of many of their fights.
Perez also blamed society for not providing the help he needed for his anger issues.
"The law is already on the woman's side and they don't even care about what's the reason. They just take you in,” he said.
Nearly two years after the murder, Perez said he feels deep remorse, especially since he may never see his daughter again.
"I just want her to know that I'm really sorry mama. There's nothing I can do or say. I would do anything to bring her mom back.”
And, by admitting guilt, he hopes to finally bring some sort of closure to the Gonzalez family.
“I'm sorry. I always will be sorry, no matter if I die tomorrow or whatever, I love her and I always will love her. And her family, I'm real sorry,” added Perez.
He refused to enter into a not guilty plea but by law the public defender is not allowed to let his client plead guilty to a felony at an arraignment.
If convicted, Perez faces life in jail without possibility of parole. He’s scheduled to appear back in court Monday and on September 5 for further proceedings.