VA murder suspect avoids trial

Judge accepts not guily plea for Rudy Perez in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The judge accepted a not guilty plea for murder suspect Rudy Perez on Monday. He avoided a trial set for next month.

Perez will be sent to the state mental facility in Fulton. He was accused of beating Robert Hill to death inside a common room at the VA hospital in Columbia February 1.

Defense attorney David Smith said Perez suffers from schizophrenia and was off his medications during the incident.

A judge approved a second mental evaluation for Perez in late August. His trial was originally scheduled for October 1.

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