VA Hospital Killer Acquitted of Murder

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COLUMBIA - The man who killed another patient at the Truman VA Hospital in February was acquitted of murder Monday. Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight accepted Rudy Perez Jr.'s plea of not guilty by reason of mental defect after two doctors reported Perez was not capable of understanding his actions when he beat Robert Hill to death at the VA Hospital.

At Monday's hearing, Knight accepted Perez's plea, then read a report of the actions leading up to the homicide and two evaluating doctors assessments of Perez. In the report, Knight said Perez believed Hill was a demon and was "mocking God." According to a doctor who performed one of Perez's mental exams, Perez thought it was his moral duty to kill Hill because Perez believed he was a demon. 

Knight also recounted details of the events leading up to the homicide. Perez was arrested in Sedalia for allegedly beating one of his neighbors, and while in the Pettis County Jail, Perez assaulted an officer and, according to Knight, exhibited odd and aggressive behavior.

After his release, Perez was in a car with his parents when he allegedly beat his father and threw his mother onto Highway 50. In Knight's report he said Perez believed his father was a demon and his mother was a witch and was unaware of who his parents were.

Two doctors performed mental exams on Rudy Perez after the homicide. Both doctors said he was unable to understand his actions at the time of the homicide. According to Knight, the first examiner, Dr. Randy Telander, at the Fulton State Hospital said Perez had a "distorted perception of reality."

After some procedural matters, Perez will be transported to a mental hospital. He will remain in that hospital until officials believe he is ready to be back in society.