According to court documents Albert Perez would murder 22-year-old Duceliz Diaz-Santiago and her daughter Kayla, 5,. Diaz-Santiago was strangled and then hung in a closet, five year old Kayla was hung by her pajamas
Albert Perez would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Albert Perez Photos
Albert Perez Now
Parole Number: 189HO
Date of Birth: 05/06/1981
Height: 5′ 04″
Current Location: PHOENIX
Permanent Location: PHOENIX
Committing County: BERKS
Albert Perez Case
A Berks County judge has upheld the conviction of and death sentence for a 29-year-old man in the January 2007 hangings of a mother and daughter in their Bernville apartment.
Judge Linda K.M. Ludgate concluded in a 67-page opinion that Albert Perez’s trial attorney was not ineffective for failing to provide expert and character witnesses in Perez’s trial
Perez’s new lawyer, Eric E. Winter of Reading, asked Ludgate to grant a new trial and overturn the death penalty.
Winter will appeal to the state Supreme Court as required by law in all death-penalty cases.
Perez, formerly of the 300 block of Chestnut Street, was convicted in May 2009 of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in the Jan. 15, 2007, hangings of Duceliz Diaz-Santiago, 22, and her daughter, Kayla, 5, in their Bernville apartment.
During a two-day hearing in July, Winter called several witnesses who said they would have testified for Perez if they had been asked to do so during the trial.
“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling,” Winter said. “We believe there were several key pieces of evidence and expert witnesses that should have been presented at trial.”
Perez testified he would have preferred to have had a forensic pathologist, a psychiatrist and character witnesses testify.
Winter argued that Perez’s trial attorney, Assistant Public Defender Kevin M. Beals, who died in July 2009, was ineffective.
Assistant District Attorney Adrian S. Shchuka said Ludgate properly concluded Perez received a fair trial.
“When the appeals are complete, a death warrant will be signed,” Shchuka said. “They raised 25 issues and they were all denied.
Ludgate concluded the character witnesses would not have made any difference in the outcome.
“The testimony these witnesses would have provided as to the defendant’s reputation for peacefulness in the community was directly contradicted by his own admissions to the crimes he committed,” Ludgate wrote.
The judge said Perez admitted he strangled Diaz-Santiago with a cord and moved her body to the closet and staged a hanging
Ludgate said he also admitted hanging Kayla with pajamas.
The judge also said the expert witnesses provided by the defense in the post-trial hearing would not have affected the outcome.
Winter had called Dr. Timothy J. Michals, a Philadelphia forensic psychiatrist, who testified that a report provided during Perez’s trial for the prosecution was incomplete.
Ludgate said Michals admitted he would not be able to conclude that Diaz-Santiago murdered her daughter if he had sufficient evidence to prove Perez killed the child.
During the trial, prosecutors called Dr. John O’Brien, a Philadelphia forensic psychiatrist, to rebut Perez’s statement to police that he killed Diaz-Santiago because Diaz-Santiago killed her daughter.
O’Brien said he had concluded a mother would not kill a daughter
Dr. Jonathan Briskin, a Philadelphia forensic pathologist, testified during the July hearing that the child could have been killed by her mother.
Briskin testified that compression around the neck could cause death in less than one minute, as Perez said in his statement to police.
Dr. Isidore Mihalikis, medical examiner in Warren County, N.J., testified during the trial that it was not possible for Diaz-Santiago to have killed Kayla in less than one minute.
Ludgate wrote in the opinion that Briskin did not exclude that the child was alive when she was hanged by her pajamas.
Perez told police he had gone outside to smoke for a minute when Diaz-Santiago ran out to tell him that she had killed her daughter. Perez said he then killed Diaz-Santiago.
Albert Perez is in the State Correctional Institution at Greene, Greene County