Trial date set for Kansas commune leader

Perez(AP) — The leader of a Kansas group accused of living off life insurance payouts on its dead members is scheduled to go on trial in five months in a woman’s death.

A Sedgwick County judge on Wednesday rescheduled the trial of 53-year-old Daniel U. Perez for March 31.

Perez is charged with murder in the 2003 death of Patricia Hughes at the group’s compound near Wichita. The 26-year-old woman was initially believed to have accidentally drowned while trying to rescue her 2-year-old daughter from the pool.

Perez also faces charges of rape, sodomy and sexual exploitation of a child.

Defense lawyers have argued that there’s not enough evidence to put Perez on trial.