VA murder suspect avoids trial

Judge accepts not guily plea for Rudy Perez in Columbia

POSTED: 07:14 AM CST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 07:31 PM CDT Sep 23, 2013 

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.