Testimony begins in the felony murder and attempted armed robbery trial of Jorge Perez

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 10:49 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Testimony began Wednesday in the felony murder and attempted armed robbery trial of Jorge Perez.

Perez, 22, is charged in connection along with four others in the shooting and killing of Edward Ross, 30, at his dad’s home in Panama City Beach on December 29th, 2019, after state attorneys said it was a robbery gone wrong.

“Who’s the person that put you up to this?” Chief Bay County Prosecutor Mark Graham asked.

As part of a plea agreement, Co-Defendant Joshua Campbell testified that Perez had robbed the Sunset Drive home before. State attorneys said the five were planning to rob it again for drugs and money.

“Jorge Perez,” Co-Defendant Joshua Campbell said.

“Did he say anything about knowing this place?” asked Graham.

“Yeah,” said Campbell.

“What did he say?” asked Graham.

“That he’s been before,” said Campbell.

“Mr. Campbell, who was the person that was in charge of you and the other co-defendants in this robbery/homicide?” asked Graham.

“Perez,” said Campbell.

Prosecutors are saying Perez was the mastermind behind the robbery. Surveillance video from that night shows the five men showing up to a gas station in two cars, a white BMW and a white Ford Fusion.

“You and, who was in your car?” Defense attorney Jeanna Downing asked.

“Perez.” Co-Defendant Jorge Hernandez said.

“Just Mr. Perez?” asked Downing.

“Yes ma’am,” said Hernandez.

Another co-defendant, Jorge Hernandez, testified that Perez was sitting behind him in his BMW.

“Right after the convenience store, did Perez ever get out of the BMW?” asked Graham.

“No,” said Campbell.

While it’s alleged Perez never exited the car when the shooting happened, testimonies said he played a role in a different way.

“You testify that you saw Mr. Perez give Mr. (Abel) Ortiz the gun, right?” asked Downing.

“Yes ma’am,” said Hernandez.

Perez’s ex-girlfriend Clara Lamson testified that the hand gun was hers. Lamson said the night before the crime, the two met up at a local Fairfield Inn.

“Where did you keep it?” asked Graham.

“In my backpack,” said Lamson.

“Did the defendant (Perez) know you had that gun?” asked Graham.

“Yes,” said Lamson.

After staying the night together, Lamson said she woke up the morning of the 29th and Perez was gone.

“Did you check out that bag?” asked Graham.

“Yes,” said Lamson.

“When you went to check it out, did you notice something?” asked Graham.

“Yes,” said Lamson.

“And what did you notice?” asked Graham.

“My gun was missing,” said Lamson.

A crime that state attorneys said shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

“Would you have been involved if he hadn’t of called you?” asked Graham.

“Probably not,” said Campbell.

The state attorney’s office asked NewsChannel 7 to not show the faces of the three co-defendants to protect their privacy. The victim’s father, Kenneth Ross also testified earlier Wednesday in the trial.

Day two of the trial starts back up Thursday morning with more witnesses taking stand.

Perez is the second defendant to face trial in the case. A jury found Abel Ortiz guilty of first-degree murder and attempted robbery back in April.

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