Accused killer denies murder of secret sex offender

The Fresno woman accused of murdering a drinking buddy after finding out he was a sex offender took the witness stand Friday.
April 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Fresno woman accused of murdering a drinking buddy after finding out he was a sex offender took the witness stand Friday to tell her side of the story.

Patricia Perez is accused of being one of the two killers who strangled the recently outed sex offender, and stabbed him 58 times. But Perez says she was too drunk to do anything but sleep that night in 2012, and she would never hurt anybody.

We're not allowed to show you Patricia Perez's face as she sits in court facing a murder charge. But she did show up on camera during the sex offender sweep that gave away her friend's secret. Lawrence Ballesteros was a convicted rapist and U.S. Marshals came to check on him in the detached garage to Perez's house.

On the witness stand, Perez said the revelation upset her, but mostly because of how other people reacted.

"I wanted him gone because at that point, every day when I'd go to my mom's house, back at the store [where she went to get beer] everybody was telling me 'Oh, you know, you still got that child molester?'" she testified.

Perez said she didn't see Ballesteros for about two weeks after the sweep. And when he came back to the property, she said she cut his hair, trimmed his mustache, and brought him clothes as he took a shower. She saw him one more time later that day, but only briefly, and she denied having anything to do with his death.

"Ms. Perez, did you kill Lawrence Ballesteros?" asked her defense attorney Mark Siegel.

"No I did not," she said.

"Did you assist anyone in killing Lawrence Ballesteros?" Siegel asked.

"No I did not," Perez replied.

Perez admitted to being a heavy drinker. She remembered drinking several large beers on the day Ballesteros was killed.Perez said she attended a child's party, then came home and basically blacked out.

"How do you know you didn't kill Lawrence Ballesteros if you don't remember anything after ...?" prosecutor Jeff Dupras started to ask her.

"Because I would never do that to nobody," Perez interrupted. "That's why I know."

A teenager who lived in the house told police she saw Perez and David Barrera out by Barrera's pickup truck in the driveway that night. Investigators later found Ballesteros' blood in the bed of the truck.

Barrera did not testify in the trial, which is just about wrapped up. Closing arguments are scheduled for next Tuesday.


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