Jury selection began Wednesday for the trial of a Calimesa man accused of gunning down a neighbor a few days after she and her boyfriend got into a slugfest with him in the mobile home park where they all resided.
Rex Carl Edwards, 62, could face 50 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder and a sentence-enhancing gun use allegation in the slaying last year of 55-year-old Susan Perez.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Charles Koosed summoned prospective jurors to the Riverside Hall of Justice for screening as to their availability and fitness to weigh evidence in the case. Proceedings are slated to resume Thursday, with opening statements possible by Friday.
Edwards is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
According to the prosecution, Edwards, Perez and her boyfriend, whose name was not released, got into an altercation on Aug. 8, 2017, stemming from an ongoing dispute at the Big Oak Gardens Mobile Home Park in the 35000 block of Chandler Avenue.
The defendant and victims lived directly adjacent to one another, though the nature of their conflict was not clear.
A trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Dan Fox stated that heated words culminated in Edwards and Perez’s boyfriend exchanging blows, with her also making physical contact.
Edwards came out the loser, suffering a black eye and other bruises before backing off, according to investigators.
Perez and her boyfriend decided to leave the mobile home park, and on the night of Aug. 12, they returned to their trailer to retrieve and load belongings into her vehicle, Fox said.
Fox alleged that Edwards was likely observing the activity over a 30-minute span in his mother’s trailer next door.
As Perez and her boyfriend were leaving their unit for the last time, walking to her car, the defendant allegedly jumped out of some bushes and ran up behind Perez — bypassing her boyfriend — shooting her point-blank in the head, killing her on the spot, according to the brief.
“Following the fatal shooting, Edwards did not flee,” Fox said. “Instead, when (the boyfriend) approached him, the defendant raised the handgun and asked, `You want some, too?”’
The man retreated to call 911, and Edwards went over to his mother, who had emerged from the trailer, speaking with her quietly until sheriff’s deputies arrived a few minutes later, at which point he was arrested without a struggle, according to the prosecution.
Edwards has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
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