Man sentenced to life for girlfriend’s stabbing death
Defendent: ‘I would give my life in a heartbeat if it meant bringing Mandi back’
By Dave Toplikar ( contact)
Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010 | 12:59 p.m.
A Las Vegas man who last December killed his live-in girlfriend by stabbing her 25 times in front of their infant child, then tried to commit suicide by taking a nosedive off a balcony, received a life sentence today in Clark County District Court.
Judge Donald Mosley sentenced Benjamin Farrey to 10 years to life imprisonment for the stabbing death of Mandi Rose Perez, 28. Mosley also added a sentence of six to 15 years, to run consecutively, for the use of a deadly weapon.
Farrey, 30, will be eligible for parole in 10 years. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on June 3.
Farrey, who was in a wheelchair, told Mosley that he has lost his memory of the murder and his suicide attempt, which occurred Dec. 13 at the couple's apartment in the 3700 block of Swenson Street.
"I legitimately woke up in a hospital, not knowing what happened, not knowing anything that I did until a detective told me," Farrey said.
According to police, Perez was found dead about 3 a.m. on Dec. 13. Police found Farrey, bloody, on the concrete pool area below their apartment. The couple's baby was found unharmed inside the home, police said.
Deputy District Attorney Liz Mercer said that Farrey had a very volatile relationship with Perez, but failed to stay away from her. He had had two prior battery convictions for injuring her, Mercer said.
Mercer said Perez suffered five stab wounds to her head and neck, 10 stab wounds to her torso, mostly her chest area, and 10 were to her extremities, which included some defensive wounds on her hands from a knife.
"Immediately after stabbing Mandi Perez 25 times the defendant downed two bottles of Tylenol, called his ex-girlfriend in New York and told her 'I just screwed up. I hurt Mandi really badly,'" Mercer told the judge.
Mercer said rather than call police, he tried to kill himself.
"He then took a nosedive off the second-floor balcony, which is why he is sitting here in a wheelchair," Mercer said. "… All of this was done in front of a 10-month-old child. When police responded the baby was in a playpen, crying."
At the time, Farrey was taken to Sunrise Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition. He remained in the hospital for several weeks.
His attorney, Kristina Wildeveld, told the judge today that he was now able to walk with the aid of a walker, but cannot stand without the assistance of a walker.
"He doesn't know if he will walk again, so he will be serving his prison sentence in a wheelchair," Wildeveld said.
She asked the judge for a sentence of 10 to 25 years, with the enhancement for the deadly weapon be at the lower range, so at some point he can leave prison.
Mercer recommended the life sentence, saying that Farrey had already had two instances where he had battered Perez, one in 2008 and one in 2009.
"Because of his unwillingness to address this problem, judge, I believe he poses a great danger to society," Mercer said. "And given the fact that he would take another person's life in the manner that he did, it creates a great danger to the community."
Mosley asked Farrey if he had anything to say.
Farrey apologized to Perez's parents and to his own parents.
"I live every day with a heavy weight of regret and remorse for what I did," Farrey said. "I'm not asking or expecting their forgiveness. But I do want them to know the depth and sincerity of my apology and my regret and my remorse. I would do anything in the world to undo what happened, what I did. I would give my life in a heartbeat if it meant bringing Mandi back to this world."
He also broke out in tears as he turned around to look at the victim's parents and said he was sorry for taking their daughter's life.
Mosley told Farrey that a 2004 conviction for assault in New York, plus the two domestic battery incidents in Las Vegas against Perez before her death, "looks to me like you have a problem controlling your anger."
Farrey said he had sought counseling and two months before Perez's death he had begun seeing a private psychologist for anger management. He said he was also put on medication. He also said he had been abstaining from alcohol before the incident two months before the murder and was attending addiction services at a church.
Mosley asked him if he had started drinking, but Farrey said the toxicology report came back that showed he had not been drinking. Mosley asked him if he knew why he killed Perez and he explained he had no memory of it.
Wildeveld, Farrey's attorney, told Mosley that Farrey's parents were surprised how their son could have found himself in such a situation with Perez. Wildeveld said his parents knew there were some issues with Craig, "but nothing that would ever rise to this level."
She said that they had a psychiatrist visit Farrey numerous times to try to find out what happened that night. They found that he had been taking wellbutrin as an antidepressant.
Wildeveld said Farrey had just gotten out of a seven-year relationship with another woman, the woman he called the night of the murder.
However, during the time he dated the other woman, there was no history of domestic violence, Wildeveld said. She said the 2004 incident the judge referred to involved the former girlfriend's brother, and that charge was dismissed.
The judge allowed Perez's father, Arthur Perez, to make a statement. Perez told the judge that he and his wife now have custody of the baby and the couple's two other children, ages 10 and 4.
Perez recommended to the judge that, for the children, Farrey be given a sentence of 17 years, saying that would be just because that is the time that his daughter would have spent raising their children, had she lived.