Jilted chef murders ex-mother-in-law?
Police have charged Peter King, 39, a chef and businessman of Ladyville, with the murder of his ex-mother-in-law after they found him with the woman’s body in his car.
King, also known as Peter Contreras, to us, was arraigned in the court of Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie yesterday, Wednesday, just two days after allegedly committing the senseless act.
Police found King driving his Isuzu Trooper with the body of his victim, Argentina Arevalo Garcia, 50, at 4:20 a.m., two days ago on Tuesday. Police believe that King had been driving around with Garcia’s body for over 14 hours after murdering her on Monday, December 13, 2010, around 2:00 p.m.
Amandala spoke with King’s ex-girlfriend, Leslie Garcia, daughter of the murder victim, Argentina, a Guatemalan, and a resident of the Orange Walk District. She told us that she was still in a state of shock over what transpired, because there were no warning signs prior to the incident.
Early Tuesday morning at 4:20, a police mobile unit was driving in the direction of Belize City when between Mile 8 and 9 on the Northern Highway, near the junction of the highway and the entrance to the Philip Goldson International Airport, they noticed a blue Isuzu Trooper, with Cayo license plate #C-13942, exiting the road to the airport and moving onto the highway, without stopping at the junction.
Police signaled to the driver to pull over to the side of the Northern Highway, and he complied.
According to police, the man identified himself as Peter King, and explained that he had no identification on him, but it was at his home in Ladyville.
King was ordered by police to exit the vehicle and a search was conducted on his person.
Police said that King had nothing illegal on him, but when they inspected the inside of the Trooper, they saw, at the rear, the motionless body of a Hispanic female, partially wrapped in a white sheet.
King immediately confessed to the officers that the body was that of his mother-in-law, and that he had killed her, a police press release said.
At the time of the arrest, King reportedly was seen with deep scratches all over his face, mainly on the jaw area and around his right and left eyes.
What the police told Leslie Garcia was very disturbing to her: “One of the police officers told me that he told them that he really never meant to do that [kill my mother], and that his intention was to kill me, but because of what I told him [that I was leaving him], he did it [killed my mother].”
Reports to Amandala are that King used a rope to strangle Leslie’s mother to death. It is unclear whether the scratches seen on Argentina’s right upper shoulder, by her daughter, was due to a struggle before she died, but the evidence seems to indicate this, since Leslie explained that under her mom’s fingernails was what appeared to be blood.
It also is unclear what King had been intending to do with the body, but our conversation with Leslie revealed a better understanding of King’s personality, and furthermore, the last interaction of the trio on the same day of the murder, on Monday.
Leslie, who is still employed at Peter King’s restaurant, “King’s Cuisine,” in Ladyville, told us that on Monday, her mother had been at the restaurant, which is also King’s residence, caring for the ex-couple’s two children, a girl, 2, and a boy, 4, something she always did to assist the parents when the business got demanding.
Leslie told us that she has been separated from King, by her own choice, for two months after a failed 5-year relationship.
“Well, I could say it’s a long story, but it has to do with his ways. He is a person that is not really aggressive, but for the last year he started to get more aggressive with me. He was also becoming very obsessed with me, and every day after I broke up with him, he ask me the same thing, that he wants me back, and how we should get back together, and I had to tell him that he had to stop asking me that,” said Leslie.
Leslie recounted to Amandala, “On Monday [while Argentina had been caring for the two children] he came and asked me to ask my mom if she could stay until twelve to take care of the children. My mother doesn’t really speak good English, but she understood that he wanted her to stay longer, and she agreed.
“My mom had to catch the bus up to go to Indian Creek Village [a village in the Orange Walk District where she resides] and so he [King] said that he had to go deliver some food for Shell gas station [in Ladyville], so he could take her the same time. I don’t know if he ever delivered the plate of food, because I am sure that if he went there, that she would have gotten out and waited for her bus right there, so I don’t know if he just pretended to have to go take the food, or what.”
Amandala contacted the Shell gas station and an employee confirmed to us that, “No, nobody ordered food from him; no one ever got food from him.”
Police later told us that they did not recover any food from the vehicle.
Leslie revealed more shocking details about that day, explaining that around 1:35 p.m., “He called my phone. I was eating, I remember, and he told me that he knocked down a person and he is frightened, and so I told him that he has to go help the person, and that he needs to take care of that before he comes back.”
King had also told Leslie to wait for him at the restaurant, and that between six o’clock and six-thirty in the evening he would pick her and the kids up and bring them to the city, where she resides. However, Leslie, feeling tired, decided to head back without waiting for him.
Apparently, this was a lie concocted by King, who was believed to have just finished strangling Argentina to death around that time, about 1:30-2:00 p.m.
When asked about how the murder of her mother at the hands of her children’s father has impacted her, Leslie said that she was feeling guilty that her mother died by her ex-boyfriend’s hand.
Leslie told us that she would have never expected anything like that from King, because he never showed signs of thinking such a thing.
“For me it was unbelievable. It’s devastating, to be honest. In a way, it is a shame, too, because it is my ex-boyfriend. I feel that it is my fault because I was the one who dated him. I don’t see the sense why he had to do that. Even if he never meant to kill her, he could have stopped it; he would have gotten only maybe attempted murder, but he continued and he killed her,” said Leslie.
King was charged with a single count of murder, for which he was not allowed to make a plea. He was not granted bail because it is an indictable charge. He was remanded to prison, where he will wait until his next court date, on December 23, 2010. Amandala