Tag: st. john the baptist sheriff’s office

Kenner man sentenced to life plus 40 years in murder and dismemberment case

 

Convicted of killing his rival in a Kenner love triangle before dismembering the slain man’s body and discarding the parts in a River Parishes swamp, Viusqui J. Perez-Espinosa was sentenced Thursday (April 26) to spend the rest of his life in prison plus 40 years.

Perez, 45, a Cuban national whose work history included that of a butcher, was convicted as charged last month of the second-degree murder of Alexis Portales-Lara on Nov. 11, 2016. Portales was murdered in the Baylor Place apartment he shared with his lover, a woman who also is a Cuban national and who previously was romantically involved with Perez.

According to trial testimony, Perez hoped to rekindle the relationship, and Portales was in the way.

On the day after he killed Portales, Perez disarticulated the body, stuffed the remains in garbage bags and drove to St. John the Baptist Parish, where he dumped the bags into the swamp near the Reserve Canal off Interstate 10.

For his efforts to conceal his crime, Perez also was convicted as charged of obstruction of justice and was sentenced Thursday to the maximum 40 years in prison.

Portales, a Honduran national, moved to East Jefferson to be close to his young daughter, according to trial evidence.

Portales’ ex-wife provided a statement to the court in lieu of live impact testimony on Thursday, expressing the emotional and financial hardships she and their 5-year-old daughter suffer because of his death.

“With tears in her eyes, she tells me, ‘Mommy, I miss my daddy,’” the mother wrote.

Portales and Perez worked together for a scaffold company in Norco. Portales moved in with Perez’s ex-girlfriend in Kenner. She later allowed Perez to temporarily move in with them after his relationship with another woman ended, according to evidence presented to the jury.

Portales was last seen alive on the evening of Nov. 11, 2016. The Kenner Police Department initially investigated the matter as a missing person’s complaint and found blood in the Baylor Place apartment. That blood was later determined to be Portales’, according to evidence presented during the trial.

Then, on Dec. 29, 2016, a fisherman found a right arm in the Reserve Canal. The following month, pipeline workers who were dredging the canal found the legs and torso. The remains were determined to be Portales, whose head and left arm have not been located.

At trial, the jury heard testimony about Perez sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend in the apartment after Portales went to work. Perez, who denies assaulting the woman, asserted he was defending himself from Portales’ attack. During the scuffle, Perez asserted in trial testimony, Portales stabbed himself in the neck and caused his own death.

Perez testified that the body was too heavy for him to move, so he cut it into pieces. His attorney told jurors that he panicked.

At the end of a six-day trial, a Jefferson Parish jury on March 26 convicted Perez as charged of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

After denying defense motions for a new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal on Thursday, Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the sentences, which she ran consecutively.

Judge Kovach noted, “I can think of no worse obstruction of justice than that which occurred in this case.”

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Richard Olivier prosecuted the case.

 

 

Kenner man convicted of killing, dismembering rival in love triangle

Viusqui J. Perez-Espinosa was convicted Monday night (March 26) of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s new lover in Kenner before dismembering the body and dumping the parts in a St. John the Baptist Parish swamp.

Perez, 45, a Cuban national who had worked as a butcher, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Ives Alexis Portales-Lara, 27. A Honduran immigrant who moved to East Jefferson to be near his young daughter, Portales was murdered Nov. 11, 2016, in the Baylor Place apartment he shared with Perez and the woman who was the third leg in their love triangle.

Perez also was convicted of obstruction of justice, for his efforts to conceal his crime. The day after he killed Portales, Perez disarticulated the body, packed the remains in garbage bags, stuffed them in his car’s trunk and drove to St. John the Baptist Parish, where he threw them off the Interstate 10 bridge over the swamps near the Reserve Canal, according to evidence presented during the trial.

“It was the most brutal possible way to die and be disposed of,” Assistant District Attorney Kellie Rish told jurors in opening statements.

“I’ve never seen a case when a victim is cut into pieces and thrown away like trash,” Assistant District Attorney Richard Olivier told jurors in closing argument.

According to evidence presented at trial, Perez and Portales were friends and co-workers at a scaffolding company who romanced the same woman. Perez was sexually involved with the woman for about 18 months before the relationship ended in September 2016. Portales moved in with her in her Baylor Place apartment, and a secret romantic relationship began.

Perez, who worked as a fisherman and boat captain in Cuba and as a butcher in Honduras before he migrated to the United States, pined for her affections and wanted Portales out of the picture, according to trial evidence.

With Portales’ blessing, his ex-girlfriend who also is a native of Cuba, allowed Perez to move in with them on Nov. 8, 2016, three days before the murder. Perez, aware of rumors of Portales’ relationship, offered his rival money to move into his own apartment.

On the morning of Nov. 11, 2016, after Portales left for work, Perez allegedly sexually assaulted his former girlfriend in her bed. Portales was last seen alive that evening.

The Kenner Police Department was notified, marking the start of a missing persons investigation. Officers responding to the complaint visited the Baylor Place apartment and noticed blood on the floor.

Using luminol, Kenner police later found blood on a wall, the ceiling and on furniture. Blood also was found in the trunk of Perez’s car. In the meantime, police booked Perez based on his ex-girlfriend’s assertion that he sexually assaulted her.

Later in November 2016, amid the missing persons investigation, the blood from the apartment was determined to belong to Portales, Dr. Marcela Zozaya, a forensic DNA analyst with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, testified. Dr. Zozaya likened the process to a paternity test, by matching the genetic material she extracted from the blood to that of Portales’ daughter.

On Dec. 29, 2016, a fisherman found a right arm in the Reserve Canal. On Jan. 12, 2017, pipeline workers dredging the canal found the legs and torso, according to the testimony. Portales’ head and left arm have not been found. The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office joined the investigation.

Through DNA analysis, Dr. Zozaya determined that the body parts belonged to Portales, she testified. Perez was then booked and subsequently charged with Portales’ murder.

Perez’s attorney asserted that Portales attacked Perez thinking that Perez sexually assaulted his girlfriend, an accusation that Perez denied. Testifying on Monday, Perez told jurors that Portales attacked him with a knife, and during the ensuing struggle, Portales cut his own throat and died as a result. The body was too heavy for him to carry to the trunk of his car, he testified. He refused to describe cutting up the body.

After a six-day trial during which more than 1,200 exhibits were presented by the state, the Jefferson Parish jury deliberated 2 ½ hours before delivering its verdicts. Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Perez to a mandatory life sentence in prison on April 26.

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Richard Olivier prosecuted the case.