A man who admitted to killing his mother-in-law and drove around Ladyville with her body in his vehicle pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter on Tuesday, in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas.
Peter King Contreras, a chef from Ladyville, faced two indictments: one for murder and another for manslaughter, at the start of his Supreme Court trial.
Justice Adolph Lucas will hand down his sentence, after character witnesses testify in a mitigation hearing, on Tuesday, June 18.
Contreras, who is being defended by attorney Earnest Staine, was indicted for the December 13, 2010, murder of Argentina Arevalo Garcia.
He has spent he last 30 months in jail awaiting trial.
According to court records, the murder occurred shortly after midnight as Contreras was taking Garcia from his restaurant on the airport road to the junction of the Phillip Goldson Highway, so that she could catch a bus to return to her home in Indian Creek.
Garcia had gone to the restaurant to care for her granddaughter, Leslie Garcia’s baby.
At the time, Leslie Garcia was living with Contreras in a common-law relationship.
In a caution statement that Contreras gave to police, after he was intercepted with the dead woman’s body early the following morning, he said that he had become involved in an argument with his mother-in-law and that he had strangled her with a rope.
During the argument with him, the girl’s mother supposedly asked him: “Why would Leslie want a loser like you?”
Before strangling her, Contreras told police that he punched her twice in the face, when she attempted to get out of his vehicle.
After he had strangled her with the rope, Contreras told police that he drove around all afternoon with her body in his vehicle.
He said in his statement that he kept the body all night and that sometime after 3:00 in he morning he decided to drive away with the body from his house.
But he was intercepted by a police mobile patrol.
The police decided to search his vehicle, when he could not produce his driver’s license.
The police search of Contreras’ vehicle led to the discovery of the body of a woman in the trunk of the vehicle.
Contreras told them that he had knocked down the woman.
He later admitted that he knew the woman; that she was his mother-in-law and that he had strangled her.
After Crown Counsel Taysha Grant had presented the facts, Justice Lucas asked Contreras to stand.
Tears were flowing down his face, as he told the court that he was in agreement with the facts as presented.
Justice Lucas found that the facts presented by the prosecution contained all the elements necessary for manslaughter. “Therefore I accept your guilty plea of manslaughter”, he told Contreras.