Perez third man to go to trial for carjacking of handicapped man
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Jurors were scheduled to hear from witnesses starting this morning in the case of the third suspect in an alleged carjacking last January.
Attorneys for both sides questioned four panels of potential jurors Tuesday in preparation for the beginning of the trial against Matthew Perez, who, along with co-suspects Jose Gil, Juan Garza and Bobby Stensland, was arrested following the alleged incident in which a handicapped victim was forced out of his vehicle without his wheelchair and had to crawl for help. The victim’s Blazer was later recovered in Finney County.
The two sides will present opening statements this morning, with questioning of witnesses soon to follow. The case is expected to last through Friday.
Gil, 25, was convicted in November of one count each of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to 281 months in the Seward County Jail.
Stensland, 19, had his case tried in November, but jurors could not agree on some of the charges, forcing District Judge Clint Peterson, the judge in Perez’s case, to declare a mistrial. Stensland’s trial is scheduled to be heard again in February.
Gil, Stensland, Garza and Perez were arrested between Jan. 29, 2010, and March 1, 2010, by authorities in Ford and Finney counties, according to a statement from Liberal Police Capt. Pat McClurg.