The man on trial for killing his wife, a rookie Escondido police officer, has been found guilty of second-degree murder and arson.
At his Dec. 4 sentencing, Perez-Rodas faces 49 years to life in prison for second-degree murder, arson of an inhabited dwelling and an allegation of use of a gun causing death, which the jury found was true.
On July 24, 2014, Perez-Rodas set their Murrieta house on fire and told firefighters his wife was inside, according to prosecutors. However, no bodies were found in the home, and the cause of the fire was soon determined to be arson.
Perez-Rodas was taken into custody. Murrieta police said the suspect told them his wife Laura had been shot in the chest three times.
With information gleaned from the husband, investigators discovered Laura’s body, alongside at least $85,000 in cash, in a unit at the Moreno Valley All-Size Storage.
Perez-Rodas and Laura have a daughter together, Suzeth, who attended a memorial for her mother one year after her death. The Escondido Police Department has vowed to be involved in the life of their fallen colleague’s child, raising more than $12,000 to create a trust fund in Suzeth’s name.
Laura joined the force just months before she was shot to death. She was described by superiors as a “rising star” in the ranks.
Since her murder, the department has put a greater focus on domestic violence prevention to stop such incidents in other homes.