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Kansas Commune Leader Faces Murder Trial

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The leader of a Kansas commune that prosecutors say lived off life insurance payouts from its dead members faces trial this week in the 2003 drowning of a woman whose death he had allegedly foretold weeks earlier.  Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of 55-year-old Daniel Perez for first-degree premeditated murder of Patricia Hughes at the group's compound in the Wichita suburb of Valley Center.  Witnesses have testified Perez called himself a seer and portrayed him as a domineering leader who kept a tight rein on his young, mostly female followers.  Perez also faces multiple counts of lying on life insurance applications, rape, sodomy, criminal threat, making false statements on auto credit applications and sexual exploitation of a child.  His defense attorney did not return a phone message.
 

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