Search warrants: Raleigh woman may have planned husband's 'demise'
Posted July 31, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The children of a Raleigh woman accused of killing her husband last month helped detectives piece together information that led them to her arrest, according to several search warrants returned Tuesday afternoon that also suggest she might have been planning the crime.
Joanna Roberta Madonna's daughters told investigators that she and Jose Manual Perez, 64, left their home, at 12412 Schoolhouse St., on June 15 and that Madonna later returned home without him, hot and sweaty with a knife wound on her arm.
A man walking the next day near Falls Lake in northern Wake County found Perez's body, with what appeared to be multiple stab wounds, face-down on Old Bayleaf Road near N.C. Highway 98.
Madonna, 46, a former Wake County public school teacher, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the case.
In an affidavit for a June 25 warrant to search the couple's home for a second time, Wake County sheriff's investigator Brian Gay said that interviews with family, friends and close associates led detectives to discover that Madonna was suspicious that Perez was having an affair.
"These interviews provide insight to investigators indicating that Joanna Madonna may have been planning the demise of Mr. Perez," Gay wrote.
A June 17 search warrant for the couple's home and several vehicles, including Perez's 2007 Jeep Wrangler, indicate that one of Madonna's daughters told deputies that the couple had been fighting after Madonna discovered emails between Perez and a Florida woman.
The daughter also told authorities that Madonna told her that Perez left to go to Florida, even though his Jeep was still in the garage.
Another daughter told deputies that when Madonna returned home without Perez on the evening of June 15, she said Perez had assaulted her with a knife and injured her arm.
Madonna, however, told investigators that she had last spoken to her husband on the phone while she was out of town the night before his body was found and that it sounded like he had been drinking. The warrant goes on to say that Madonna told investigators Perez "had been drinking a lot lately and had been abusive" and "hanging out with drug users."
When questioned further, Madonna said she saw Perez leave the house around 7 p.m. with a suitcase and that she had not seen him since. Investigators said Madonna never asked how he died, only if he had hurt himself.
From the June 17 search of the home, investigators took dozens of items, including a trash bag containing Perez's mail, bank cards, eyeglasses and medication.
Another trash bag, according to the June 25 warrant to search the couple's home again, contained clothing and personal items "were used during the events leading up to Perez's death."
Gay also indicated in the search warrant that, through her attorney, Madonna said "some sort of event took place" in Perez's Jeep and that "a firearm had been present during the altercation that led to the death of Jose Perez."
Crime scene investigators found what appeared to be blood in the Jeep, according to the warrant, but they were unable to find the gun, as well as other items of interest.
Those items included footwear matching what appeared to be a bloody shoe print on Perez's clothes.