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Illegal immigrant gets 5 life sentences for murdering three Americans

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)
January 10, 2023

An illegal immigrant received five consecutive life sentences on Friday for the brutal 2018 murder of three Americans. The illegal immigrant murderer previously dodged deportation as a recipient of the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program. 

Mexican national Luis Perek, 27, shot and killed his former roommates Steven Marler and Aaron Hampton on November 1, 2018, and injured two others in Springfield, Missouri, according to The Blaze. The following day, Perez murdered Sabrina Starr, 21, who provided him with the weapon he used in the first two murders. 

Perez’s co-defendant, Nyadia Burden, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for giving Perez the bullets he used in the slayings. Two others also have pending charges related to the murders: Dalia Garcia is accused of tampering with evidence for allegedly burning clothing worn during the crimes and Aaron Anderson is facing a charge of accessory to murder. 

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The Blaze originally reported that the suspect was locked up in the Middlesex County Jail just months before the killings on various felony charges, including assault, aggravated assault, and child abuse. Immigration and Customs (ICE) officials previously requested Perez stay locked up in the county jail; however, the jail elected to release the illegal immigrant.

An ICE spokesman revealed that Perez was a recipient of the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program in 2012 and 2014, allowing him to receive a work permit and avoid deportation.

John Tsoukaris, ICE Newark field office director, voiced his dissatisfaction, saying, “This tragedy might have been avoided had it not been for the reckless policy required of the Middlesex County Jail by their county officials.”

County officials disagreed with Tsoukaris’s assessment of the situation, suggesting instead that the blame lay with ICE due to the fact that the agency “has the legal authority and resources to secure such orders from a federal judge with regard to any inmate in the county’s custody it seeks to detain or deport.”

The Springfield News-Leader reported that while prosecutors initially sought the death penalty, they ultimately settled on ensuring he would never walk free again. 

Perez’s defense attorneys sought leniency at sentencing in hopes of possibly allowing Perez a later chance of parole. The defense argued that because Perez was an illegal immigrant, life had been tough for him growing up in New Jersey. 

Judge Thomas Mountjoy was not convinced of the attorneys’ arguments, noting he was “struck by the magnitude of the violence” and that the “magnitude speaks to requiring the most severe sentence that the law would structure.”