Court keeps bail at $2M for Wallingford man charged with killing nephew

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WALLINGFORD — The case of a Wallingford man accused of killing his nephew and attempting to submerge his body in Community Lake has been continued to June 23.

Wallingford Police arrested David Diaz-Perez, 21, on Monday and charged him with the murder of Nolvin Diaz, 17. Both lived on the second floor of 37 Meadow St.

During an interview with police, Diaz-Perez admitted to killing Diaz after at first denying any involvement, police said. 

According to court officials, Diaz-Perez has been in the United States for around five years and does not appear to have a criminal record.

Diaz worked at a local diner and had moved from Guatemala about a year earlier, according to police. 

During his arraignment Wednesday, attorneys for Diaz-Perez objected to electronic media coverage of the trial, claiming that allowing the coverage while court is being held electronically could obstruct Diaz-Perez’s right to a fair trial. Due to the coronavirus shutdown, courthouses are largely closed and the arraignment was held via video conferencing software.

Judge Melanie Cradle denied the objection, saying she did not believe the circumstances of the trial risked damaging the defense and that, given the charges, the public has an interest in the proceedings.

Bond was set at $2 million, with Cradle also denying a request for bail to be lowered to $1 million. Prosecutor Patrick Griffin argued for bond to remain at $2 million, saying that Diaz-Perez has ties to another country.

According to the arrest warrant for Diaz-Perez, Diaz’s body was found partially submerged in Community Lake by kayakers around 1 p.m. on May 3.

Diaz-Perez told police that he agreed to meet Diaz at Community Lake on April 23, upon Diaz’s request. When they arrived Diaz, he said, attacked him with a piece of wood. Diaz-Perez said he then picked up his own piece of wood and struck Diaz until he was motionless. 

Diaz-Perez stated he then left the scene and returned home. When Diaz did not return home, Diaz-Perez went back to the area on May 2. Using an extension cord, plastic garbage bag, and dirt he weighted the body before dragging it into the water using Diaz’s own belt, the arrest warrant said.

According to the state medical examiner, Diaz suffered numerous injuries to the head and face. His death was ruled a homicide caused by blunt injury to the head, sharp force injury to the face and ligature strangulation.

Diaz had been reported missing by his aunt Juana Perez-Diaz on April 25 and last seen on April 23, at approximately 8:30 p.m. by an unidentified housemate. Police said Diaz and Diaz-Perez both lived at 37 Meadow St. with Diaz’s aunt and another person. The address is within walking distance from Community Lake. 

A GoFundMe page was created Wednesday to help the Diaz family raise money for the cost of cremating the body and transporting the ashes for burial in Guatemala, where his mother resides. The page had raised around $2,000 of its $5,000 goal within five hours of being created.

The page describes Diaz as someone who liked to use his free time “to draw, write poems, ride his bike and play soccer.”

dleithyessian@record-journal.com203-317-2317Twitter: @leith_yessian

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