WICHITA | The self-proclaimed leader of a Kansas commune that lived off life insurance payouts of its dead members has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of premeditated first-degree murder.
Sedgwick County District Judge Clark Owens entered the order Thursday at the end of a preliminary hearing for 52-year-old Daniel U. Perez.
Perez is accused in the 2003 death of Patricia Hughes at a compound near Wichita. It was initially listed as accidental.
Defense lawyers contended there was not enough evidence to put Perez on trial. Owens disagreed and scheduled a jury trial for July 30.
Perez did not speak at Thursday's proceeding. The judge entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to charges that include murder, rape, sodomy, sexual exploitation of a child and lying on life insurance applications.