(WICHITA, Kan.) — The leader of a commune believed to have been living off the life insurance payouts of its dead members will stand trial. A judge ruled Thursday that there's enough evidence against Daniel Perez for his case to go before a jury.
Perez, who also goes by Lou Castro, is accused of 38 crimes. He's charged with first degree murder in the 2003 death of Patricia Hughes along with dozens of other charges including rape, sodomy, sexual exploitation of a child and making false statements on life insurance claims.
In closing arguments, the Defense tried to convince the Judge the State had not provided enough evidence to prove all counts against Perez, including the alleged murder of Hughes.
"Judge the evidence from the pathologist, indicated that it was an accidental drowning based on all the information that she had in June 2003," Defense Attorney Alice Osburn said. "The head injuries were explained to her through EMS personal."