Suspect in VA hospital killing returns to court

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A 33-year-old Sedalia man charged with killing a fellow Veterans Administration hospital patient in Columbia waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Rudy Perez Jr. is charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 1 death of 78-year-old Robert Hill of Warsaw at Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. His attorney, David Tyson Smith, says Perez is schizophrenic.

Perez appeared briefly in Boone County Circuit Court Tuesday. He is scheduled to be formally arraigned April 8.

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