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Search warrants: Raleigh woman may have planned husband's 'demise'

Posted July 31, 2013

Joanna Roberta Madonna
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— 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.


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  • ConservativeVoter Aug 1, 2013

    This must be freaking out the LEOs and DAs in Wake County.

    They can't blindly follow "The Husband did it" theory.

  • trianglerelic Aug 1, 2013

    "Raleigh woman may have planned husband's 'demise'."
    Yeah, Don't they all? I mean, is this really a surprise to anyone?

  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun Aug 1, 2013

    Caught !

  • Justic4All Jul 31, 2013

    Apparently Perez wasn't worth divorcing. But collecting on the life insurance was appealing.

  • Bartmeister Jul 31, 2013

    no one is immune to rage if pushed far enough.

    Regardless, I would never take another life. I would leave and seek a divorce. Who in the world wants to spend their life behind bars? Not me.


    Well she's probably rethinking her strategy about now but in a fit of anger people don't always act rational.

  • ConservativeVoter Jul 31, 2013

    Police say that domestic dispute calls are the most dangerous calls they answer.

  • ConservativeVoter Jul 31, 2013

    "Mostly our out-dated laws benefit the female, not the male. It is just another part of the Government's war on men. whatelseisnew

    That statement is truly delusional. If not so ludicrous it would be funny.

    Woman get most of the alimony even if they have an income.

    Woman get the children.

    Man gets stuck paying the bills for his ex-wife.

    Most of the time the woman gets the assets and the man gets stuck with the debt.

  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Jul 31, 2013

    Domestic violence advocates.....it happens against men too....a lot.

  • pab7165 Jul 31, 2013

    Marriage is the #1 cause of divorce. Proven Statistic :)

  • ncdime1235 Jul 31, 2013

    Ok, so he cheated. Get an attorney and sue him for divorce. Then you and your daughters move on. Now they are without both parents. smh And for the rage if pushed too far, anyone who can get so angry and kill someone already had the ability in them to do it. I have been in bad situations with ex's and never had it in me to really hurt them. Now, if it were my life or theirs, then I would do what needed to be done, other than that, I'm out.