Inmate accused of attempted strangulation
Prosecutors recently charged Daniel Perez, 24, with attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault for a 2009 attack at the special offender unit inside the Monroe Correctional Complex. If convicted of the new charges, it would be Perez's third "strike" and he could be sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.
Perez was sent to the Washington State Reformatory in 2005 after he was convicted of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and theft in Pierce County. He'd been sentenced to more than six years in prison. About seven months into his sentence, Perez strangled his cellmate, Cory Garzina, with the drawstring of his prison-issued sweatpants. Garzina was found dead in the his cell.
Perez told investigators that he'd had a dream that Garzina was going to stab him so he decided "he was going to take action first," according to court documents.
A jury found Perez guilty of second-degree murder and he was sentenced to 30 years for the slaying.
After his conviction, Perez was kept alone in a cell at the special offender unit. That's where prosecutors allege he attempted to strangle another man on Aug. 19, 2009. The man was serving a nearly four-year stint for an assault conviction.
That man was allowed to work in the laundry room. He was seated at a table, reading a book when he was attacked, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow wrote.
The laundry room is considered a "blind spot," meaning that it can't been seen on the video system, according to court papers.
Cameras, however, captured Perez in an adjacent day room. The video shows him pacing back and forth along one wall. After a couple of minutes Perez is seen pulling a ligature from his pocket and stretching it between his hands as he approached the laundry room.
He was out of sight for about seven minutes before reemerging into view of the camera, Darrow wrote. The video shows him walk to the door of the day room and asked to be allowed to go back to his cell.
The man told investigators that he initially thought someone was playing a joke on him. He soon realized the attack was serious when he felt someone's knee in his back and felt the ligature across this throat.
He struggled to free himself and both men fell to the floor. The man told investigators that he saw Perez walk away just before he lost consciousness.
When confronted, Perez allegedly told correction officers God was making him do things, court papers said. Monroe police detectives were summoned to the prison and asked to photograph Perez. He asked the detective if he had a warrant, Darrow wrote.
The alleged victim was released from prison about three months later. There was some delay in filing the charges against Perez in part because the other man was being held in jail out of state.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.
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