Early end to first day of Cape man’s murder trial
Following hours of questioning by prosecutors and defense lawyers, a freshly-selected four-man, three-woman jury took their seats in the murder trial of Cape Coral man Ronnie Perez Tuesday afternoon.
But just as quickly as they had sat, the jurors were escorted from the room, and eventually sent home for the day, when Assistant State Attorney Stephanie Hoffman suffered what appeared to be an adverse reaction to medication she had been taking.
Hoffman, though coherent and seemingly all right, was taken by EMS workers from Judge Edward Volz’s Lee County courtroom via a stretcher, shortly after Volz gave instructions about the case to the jury.
“(Hoffman) has a history of high blood pressure,” said lead prosecutor Ed Ferguson, adding he hopes Hoffman is alright.
Hoffman was taken in a conscious state to the hospital.
The trial is scheduled to resume today at 8:30 a.m.
Ronnie Perez, 26, faces a second-degree charge in the May 22, 2007, slaying of 36-year-old William Lowell. Perez is accused of stabbing Lowell and slashing his throat as the result of an argument at Lowell’s home, at 2716 N.E. First Ave.
Arresting documents indicate Perez told detectives he thought Lowell had a loaded gun at the time the struggle occurred, though it is unclear if he will maintain that defense during the proceeding days of trial.
If convicted, Perez faces a possible sentence of life in prison.