Suspect Charged for Homicide of Mary Havenstein


Update: Suspect Charged for Homicide of Mary Havenstein and Series of Home Invasion Robberies

This afternoon, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger announced the arrest of the individual responsible for the September 2008 homicide/home invasion robbery of Mary Frances Havenstein and the series of four other home invasion robberies which occurred between September 17, 2007, and May 7, 2008, and that have been investigated as related.

Today, Jose Juan Garcia-Perlera, age 33, of the 5800 block of 32nd Avenue in Hyattsville, was charged with first-degree murder, four counts of robbery and one count of armed robbery. He is currently being held without bond at the Montgomery County Detention Center.

Garcia-Perlera was arrested without incident on Wednesday, October 15, after the execution of a search warrant at his residence. He was charged at that time with first-degree burglary and theft over $500 for a residential burglary that occurred on August 28, 2008 in the 8800 block of Seven Locks Road in Bethesda. He was also charged with fourth-degree burglary and theft over $500 for a theft from a vehicle that occurred in the 11300 block of Mitscher Street in Kensington overnight between August 6 and August 7, 2008.

During the course of the investigation into the August 28 burglary, 2nd District detectives developed Garcia-Perlera as a suspect; and a search warrant was obtained and executed at his residence. There, investigators discovered numerous items of evidence from the Havenstein homicide, the Maryknoll Avenue and Montgomery Street home invasion robberies, and from several thefts from vehicles. Once in custody, a search warrant was obtained to take a DNA sample from Garcia-Perlera.

Today, DNA analysts in the Montgomery County Police Crime Laboratory Section worked with DNA recovered at the homicide and at the Montgomery Street and Picasso Lane home invasions. Recent advancements in DNA technology allowed the analysts to make a positive match to Garcia-Perlera.

Detectives believe that as the investigation continues, Garcia-Perlera will be found responsible for other burglaries and thefts from vehicles that have occurred throughout the county. It is not yet known why the victims in the linked cases were selected. Garcia-Perlera described himself as a self-employed electrician. It is believed that Garcia-Perlera has been in the Washington Metropolitan area for the past six years.

Montgomery County Police want to thank the Maryland-National Capital Park Police Montgomery County Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Metropolitan Police Department for their assistance with this investigation. The department would also like to thank the Victims’ Rights Foundation for establishing a Home Invasion Homicide reward fund. Because the case was solved by detective work and not from a tip, the initial $5,000 reward and additional contributions will be held by the foundation and made available to the department when a future reward is deemed necessary.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said, “I am greatly relieved to bring the news of this arrest to our community. We know that many of our residents and their loved ones have been living in fear since we first announced our belief that home invasions in Bethesda, Potomac, and Chevy Chase were linked. I want to extend my gratitude to the men and women of our department who made solving this case a priority…from the patrol officers who stepped up their vigilance, the Special Assignment teams who worked around the clock, the detectives who left no stone unturned, and to the forensic analysts who provided us the critical link to the suspect. Despite the arrest of the individual involved in these cases, community members should not become complacent and stop following good crime prevention practices. Continuing to lock doors and windows, watching for suspicious activity in your neighborhoods, and calling the police when you know that a crime has occurred will reduce crime and many times even prevent it.”

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