Kansas appeals court upholds commune leader

Daniel Perez (KSN photo by Raoul Cortez)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the convictions for murder and other charges against the leader and self-proclaimed seer of a Kansas commune which lived off the life insurance payouts of its dead members.

The state’s highest court affirmed on Friday the convictions against Daniel U. Perez. Perez was also convicted of fraud for lying on life insurance applications along with numerous counts of rape and other sexual assault charges involving young girls who had been living at the commune with their mothers.

Although Perez was charged with only one murder count for the 2003 death of Hughes, several members who carried hefty life insurance policies also died.

Perez was charged in 2011 when a woman who had been 12 at the time told authorities the drowning was staged.