[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 05/08/20]
TAVARES, Florida — The man accused of killing his father Tuesday afternoon told police he shot him in the chest so, “he could have an open casket so friends and family could say goodbye,” according to his first-degree murder arrest affidavit.
Matthew Perez, 32, called 9-1-1 late Tuesday afternoon and said he shot his father, Joaquin “Jack” Perez, 60, because he was “threatening him,” the affidavit states. Police arrived at the home that father and son shared at 4870 Marsh Harbor Drive around 5:40 p.m. and Matthew Perez told the first responding officer the gun was in his bedroom and his father was in the backyard. Police located the elder Perez and he was pronounced dead on the scene.
Matthew Perez told police he was upset his father had woke him up earlier in the day and asked if he and Matthew Perez’ sister could borrow his car. He told police he said he does not love his sister and the elder Perez should use his own car. “He harassed me and woke me up while I was sleeping,” he told police at some point in his interview. After Matthew Perez got up for the day, he went outside to where his father was fixing a gate and noticed a string on the side latch. He told his father he wanted the gate “completely locked” and he did not feel safe. He also told his father he did not want his sister there and his father told him it was his house and he can let who he wants in the home, according to the affidavit.
Matthew Perez told his father he was wrong and violating his rights. He went back in the house, grabbed a 12-gauge Maverick shotgun and went back outside to his dad. The elder Perez told his son to give him the gun and Matthew Perez allegedly replied, “No, you’re a felon because you’re threatening me. You need to die. Good-bye, Dad,” and shot the elder Perez in the chest.
“I shot him center mass at the end of his sternum, “ he reportedly told police.
Police asked Matthew Perez if he thought he was wrong and he said, ”No, he was an evil man ,” and when asked if the murder was premeditated, he said “survival” had “popped in his mind,” in the past, but he would tell himself, “forgive him an you don’t want to have to kill your own family members,” the affidavit states.
Though Matthew Perez told police killing his father was self defense, “The only threat Matthew articulated was that he was upset his father was changing the lock and not respecting that the lock made him feel unsafe,” the affidavit states.
Both Matthew Perez and Joaquin “Jack” Perez worked at Eustis High School. The elder Perez was a teacher’s assistant and was hired in October 2002 and Matthew Perez was a custodian and hired in October 2018. He was terminated in March for attendance issues, said Lake County Schools Communications Officer Sherri Owens.
Matthew Perez is being held in the Lake County Jail on no bond.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]