|For Immediate Release
Case # 02WF2857 July 20, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING EX-GIRLFRIEND BY STABBING HER AND SLITTING HER THROAT
SANTA ANA – A man faces trial today for murdering his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his son, by stabbing her on her way to work. Ruben Retana Perez, 33, Whittier, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin this afternoon, Wednesday, July 20, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-37, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Beginning in 1996, Perez is accused of having an on and off 5-year romantic relationship with 29-year-old Rocio Leon. Perez and Leon had a baby boy in 1999. Following their son’s birth, Perez is accused of becoming abusive toward Leon and her child from a previous relationship.
At approximately 3:30 a.m. on April 18, 2001, Perez is accused of getting in Leon’s truck and driving with the victim to take her to work at an Orange County Register newspaper distribution center in Garden Grove. While driving to Leon’s work, Perez is accused of getting out of the car and murdering Leon by slitting the victim’s throat using a kitchen knife and stabbing her two times in the chest. The defendant is accused of getting back into the car and running over Leon’s body before fleeing the scene.
Later that morning, Perez is accused of going to his work and requesting a $1,000 cash pay advance. Perez is accused of never returning to work and abandoning the victim’s car in Stanton before fleeing the state. After further investigation linking Perez to the murder, a warrant was issued for his arrest, Dec. 17, 2002.
Approximately five years later, on July 19, 2008, Perez was arrested by police in Arkansas under the alias of Yovani Cortez for driving under the influence of alcohol. Arkansas authorities learned of the defendant’s true identity and the Orange County warrant for Leon’s murder. In September 2008, Perez was extradited back to Orange County to face the murder charges.
The Garden Grove Police Department investigated the case. Senior Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.