Friday, April 25, 2008

Pines man faces murder charges in death of wife

The Associated Press

6:53 PM EDT, April 25, 2008


A woman whose charred remains were found inside a burning apartment on Monday was stabbed to death by her husband, who then injured himself as he tried to escape the blaze, police said at a press conference earlier today.

Jose Perez, 43, faces second degree murder charges in the death of his wife Norma Merlina, 45.

The two were involved in a domestic dispute Monday morning, said Pembroke Pines police spokesman Sgt. Bryan Davis. Merlina was in the master bedroom of an apartment on the 10000 block of Northwest First Street when her husband attacked her, Davis said.

Authorities think Perez repeatedly stabbed Merlina with an awl, which is a slender, metal spike used in woodcarving.

A fire then broke out in the master bedroom, setting the mattress ablaze. The State Fire Marshall's office is still investigating the cause of the fire.

Police and fire-rescue officers arriving at the scene found an injured Perez sprawled in the breezeway outside the apartment.

Authorities believe Perez received the wounds as he fled the apartment.

He was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood and is now under custody of the Broward Sheriff's Office.

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