AP NEWS

Suspect in grape grower’s killing found dead in California

December 5, 2018

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a man who had faced a murder charge in the killing of a California grape grower has been found dead along a highway north of Bakersfield.

Kern County coroner’s officials said Tuesday that Mariano Perez suffered “traumatic injuries.”

KBAK-TV reports the 24-year-old’s death is being investigated as a homicide.

Perez was charged in the killing of 84-year-old Jakov Dulcich. His murder trial ended in a hung jury, and prosecutors dismissed the case in November pending further investigation.

Court documents show Perez had admitted to being a gang member but denied involvement in the murder.

Dulcich was known for his company’s Pretty Lady brand of grapes.

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