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Man gets 26 years for killing girlfriend

September 14, 2012 |  6:37 pm

Ruben Retana PerezA man who killed the mother of his son, stabbing her and slitting her throat, was sentenced Friday to 26 years to life in state prison, according to Orange County prosecutors.

Ruben Retana Perez of Whittier was found guilty last year killing Rocio Leon, his on-and-off girlfriend and the mother of his child.

Prosecutors said that Perez, 34, climbed into Leon's truck while she was driving to work at an Orange County Register newspaper distribution center in Garden Grove in 2001, attacking her with a kitchen knife. Authorities said he stabbed her twice in the chest and slashed her throat.

He ran over Leon's body with the vehicle before fleeing, authorities said.

Later that afternoon, Perez asked for a $1,000 cash advance from his employer and apparently left California. Garden Grove police investigated, linking him to the killing, resulting in a warrant for his arrest in December 2002.

Nearly five years later, Arkansas police picked up Perez for drunk driving, officials said. He had been using the alias Yovani Cortez. The next month, he was extradited to Orange County to face murder charges.

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-- Anh Do

Twitter: @newsterrier

Photo: Ruben Retana Perez. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office.

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