Cape police: Defendant admitted stabbing victim
Ronnie Perez told police he may have stabbed 36-year-old William Lowell to death, leading them to Lowell’s blood-stained body and home, they testified Wednesday during day two of Perez’s murder trial.
Perez, 26, is charged with second-degree murder in the May 22, 2007, death of Lowell. He faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
State prosecutors and police officers maintain Perez came to the Cape Coral Police Department and admitted to stabbing Lowell multiple times during a struggle, during which Perez said he thought Lowell had a loaded gun.
When officers arrived at Lowell’s Cape home, he was dead. He had been stabbed multiple times and his throat was slashed, arrest reports state.
Perez had reportedly suffered a bite to his thumb, an abrasion to the left side of his body and a cut across the heel of his foot as a result of the altercation.
Detectives quickly booked Perez on murder charges and processed the scene for evidence, as well as Perez’s house, they testified Wednesday.
Assistant State Attorney Ed Ferguson told the jury murder is exactly what Perez committed.
“When we’re done with this, you’re going to see not only that this crime was proven, and that Mr. Lowell was dead … we’re going to show that it was done by the criminal act of Mr. Ronnie Perez,” Ferguson said. “It’s way beyond self-defense. Just the acts themselves are going to indicate indifference to human life itself.”
The evidence, he said, would prove Perez’s guilt.
Cape officers Albert Arroyo, Mike Catania and Ishmael Perez testified that they were the first to come into contact with Perez at the police station in the early morning hours following the altercation that lead to Lowell’s death.
Perez, speaking primarily Spanish, used officer Ishmael Perez as a translator, the officers said.
“He told me he killed somebody last night,” Perez told jurors. “So I asked him, ‘Where did this happen?’ and he gave us an address.”
The officers said when they arrived at Lowell’s home, located at 2716 N.E. First Ave., they found Perez’s white Mustang convertible in the driveway next to Lowell’s truck, and what were likely blood droplets staining the driveway by Perez’s driver’s side door, the walkway to the main entrance and the doorknob into the home.
When they entered the home, they said they found Lowell’s body in the garage and called EMS to the scene. Forensics and investigative services were also notified of what they had found.
Cape detective Kurtis Grau testified that DNA swabs and photographs were taken of Perez during the investigation, and that he formally placed Perez under arrest and booked him into the Lee County Jail.
Forensic technicians photographed Lowell’s home and collected evidence, including a pellet gun found atop a refrigerator in the garage and a knife stained in what was likely blood, discovered by detective Christy Jo Ellis, they testified.
Forensic technicians John Dahowski and Frank Williams testified to finding what they thought were drops of blood in the kitchen, living room and outside the home, staining doorknobs and items in different areas of the home. There were also bloody footprints on the carpeting of the master bedroom and in the garage.
Williams said Perez’s car keys were found between the cushions of a loveseat, and a pornographic DVD was found in the living room DVD player, both of which were taken into evidence.
A blood-stained comforter was found at Perez’s home in an outside trash can, said CCPD Forensics Supervisor Larry Stringham.
But the evidence in the case is untrustworthy, the state’s arguments are riddled with buzzwords, Lowell was inebriated and high on drugs the night he was killed, and the crime scene was possibly even manipulated, according to Perez’s defense attorney Lee Hollander. Perez, he told jurors, is not a murderer.
“There’s no issue about who killed Mr. Lowell,” said Hollander. “But not every killing is a murder. I submit to you, (the state)’s evidence isn’t what they claim.”
Assistant State Attorney Stephanie Hoffman, Ferguson’s co-council in the trial, is recovering from a possible adverse reaction to medication. She was taken to the hospital by EMS on Tuesday afternoon, State Attorney’s officials said.
Her condition could not immediately be determined.
She did not attend Perez’s trial Wednesday.
The trial will resume today at 8:30 a.m.