Daniel Perez, a cult leader who managed a commune in Kansas, has been charged with the first-degree premeditated murder of a young mother. He also faces charges of sexually exploiting a child, sodomy, rape, lying on life insurance forms and issuing criminal threats.
Prosecutors argue the 55-year-old, who believes he is a seer, killed members of his cult and lived off the insurance payments following their deaths.
Patricia Hughes, 26, the young mother Perez stands accused of killing, died in 2003 what authorities originally believed to be a tragic accident that occurred while Patricia was trying to 'save' her two-year-old child who had 'fallen into' a swimming pool.
However, a former member of the cult has since come forward to testify that Patricia, who lived in Perez's commune, was in fact drowned by the cult leader, who reportedly told people he had 'foreseen' the young mother's death.
Former cult members expected to testify in court
Perez was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence in 2010 after he was found guilty of assuming a false identity. He has remained in prison since his 'release date' in 2012 as numerous other charges were brought against him.
After he was jailed in 2010, Perez's commune dispersed and it is thought that his absence gave former cult members the courage to contact the police.
Many of the alleged victims have testified that Perez sexually abused them during their time in the cult. It is thought Perez manipulated the, mostly female, members by telling them he had psychic powers.
A preliminary hearing for the shocking trial is set to take place today.
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