San Diego

Convicted Killer Sentenced to Life in Prison

Armando Perez was convicted of first-degree murder of using a knife and lying in wait.

A man who mutilated his child's mother and left her body in a restroom on the San Diego City College campus seven years ago will spend the rest of his life in prison. 

Armando Perez was convicted of first-degree murder of using a knife and lying in wait for the killing of Diana Gonzalez on October 12, 2010. 

The 19-year-old was taking classes at the college to become a nurse just months after giving birth to a daughter. 

When her lifeless body was discovered by police, she had been strangled and stabbed in her neck, her chest, her face and her privates before the word "Bitch" was carved into her back. 

Perez says he doesn’t remember what happened the night his estranged wife was killed. 

"It was me but I just became a monster. I don’t know what happened," Perez said from the stand. 

This is the second trial for Perez. He entered a guilty plea in 2014 but an appeals court ruled he did so without legal representation.

His life sentence was overturned and, Perez was retried on first-degree murder charges. 

He believes he killed his wife in the heat of passion and should be charged with manslaughter.

"I am not that monster anymore that killed Diana. I assure you I will never ever lose my mind the way I did that night," Perez said Thursday.

"He doesn't care about anybody," said Gonzalez' sister Janette. "Anybody's feelings or no one. It's all just about him. He's worse than the devil."

Perez spoke with NBC 7 from his jail cell after he was captured more than a year after the killing. At that time, he said he just snapped and “lost it.” 

After the killing, Perez washed his hands, took the knife with him and fled to Mexico. There, he went into hiding for more than a year before he was captured and brought back to U.S. to face criminal charges. 

Under questioning by the defense, Perez testified that Gonzalez called him "stupid" and threatened to keep his daughter from him when they argued before the stabbing.

Thursday, Perez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus one year for using a weapon during a felony.

"You're evil, you are, and you deserve to be put away for the rest of your life," said Judge Fredric Link.

Over objections from Perez's attorney, the prosecutor, Jessica Lees, videotaped the sentencing. She wanted to have statements preserved on video, for potential appeals and parole hearings in the future.

"He will never see the light of day outside of a prison. But true justice would be having Diana back," Lees said.

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