Dinuba man receives punishment for molestation, murder
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Ernest Perez was arrested in 2009. He pleaded guilty to murder charges last month and Thursday came face to face not only with the murder victim's family, but also some of the people he's accused of sexually assaulting when they were children.
Before Tulare County Judge Joseph Kalashian sentenced Ernest Perez to 70-years to life in prison, he urged victims and their family members in court to not let Perez prevent them from living life positively.
Hon. Joseph kalashian said, "Because evil is sitting right here. What he did is evil."
The 83-year-old Dinuba man did little other than nod and look through a probation report while numerous people read heartfelt letters to the court about how Perez's crimes affected their lives.
Ernest Perez shot and killed 73-year-old Ronald Whisenant in the victim's antique store in August 2009. After learning Perez had molested several young boys, Whisenant reported the crimes to police. Whisenant's family members say Perez threatened to kill him if he came foward and ultimately did.
Whisenant's wife, Sonya said, "He could have gone on and turned the other way and not reported what he knew and saw but he loves kids and he knew covering it up would be wrong and he would be helping you molest children."
Lisa Rollins said, "I wish there were more people in this world like my dad more people that had intestinal fortitude to stand up and fight for what is right."
Whisenant's family was surprised and touched when several of Ernest Perez's victims unexpectedly spoke in court.
Christopher said, "I want you to fear the place where you are going and picture me free and happy and ultimately forever at peace. I have these memories that I cannot get out of my mind. I wouldn't be here saying these things if it wasn't for Ronald he was good man and you just took his life."
Some of the people sitting in the court couldn't help but erupt in applause upon hearing the young victim speak.
The judge offered Perez a chance to speak, but cut him off after Perez began claiming that the victims were lying.
dinuba, tulare county, court, crimetracker, murder, local, jessica peres
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