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Murder suspect caught in Mexico to be first test of new extradition rules

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES- A man convicted of shooting his ex-wife and suspected of killing her father was captured in Mexico and could become a test case for new Mexican extradition rules, officials said.

Mexico had been a sanctuary to U.S. murder suspects facing life sentences until November, when that country's highest court overturned a 4-year-old ban preventing extradition for suspects who could face life without parole.

Daniel Perez, 34, is now the first person facing extradition under that ruling, officials said.

He was captured in Mazatlan on Monday, more than six years after his ex-wife was kidnapped and shot and her father was killed. Perez was convicted in absentia of attempted murder in his ex-wife's case and sentenced to 33 years in prison. He feld to Mexico after Vara's father was killed.

"This is the first case we will bring to justice, but it will not be the last," said Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is seeking to extradite Perez.

Authorities promised the Mexican government they would not seek the death penalty in the killing of Carlos Vara, said San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Jefferson Powell. A 1978 treaty with the United States allows Mexico to deny extradition in death penalty cases.

Extradition could take two to three months, he said.

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