Orange County News

Captured fugitive sentenced in girlfriend's 2001 murder

Friday, September 14, 2012

A convicted murderer and former fugitive was sentenced to 26 years to life Friday for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 2001.

Ruben Retana Perez, 34, of Whittier, was convicted of the 2001 murder of his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Rocio Leon. Perez drove Leon to work in her truck at 3:30 a.m. on April 18, 2001. During the Garden Grove trip, Perez stopped, got out of the truck and slit Leon's throat with a kitchen knife, then stabbed her two times in the chest. He then ran over her body and fled the scene.

Later that morning, he requested a $1,000 cash advance from his workplace. He did not return to work, abandoned the truck and fled California.

Five years later, he was arrested for a DUI in Arkansas. Police found he was living under an alias, discovered his true identity, and extradited him to California for the murder.

Perez, was found guilty of the murder on Aug. 1, 2011, of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

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