The case against accused killer Viusqui Perez — which already involved dismembered remains and a doomed love triangle — has taken an even darker turn as prosecutors in Jefferson Parish prepare for a trial date next month.

The case involves Perez, a man named Ivis Portales who turned up dead in 2016 and a woman they both had dated. All three had been living in the same apartment.

Prosecutors now say the woman had told Portales that Perez raped her, suggesting that Perez may have killed Portales to silence a potential witness and to get a romantic rival out of the way.

A judge this week signed off on a request from prosecutors to introduce a series of text messages supporting their case.

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In new court filings, prosecutors say Perez, 45, had been dating the woman for about 18 months but broke up with her in September 2016 to pursue a relationship with another woman. When his new relationship went sour, Perez found himself without a place to live and turned to his previous girlfriend for help.

By that time, according to prosecutors, she had struck up a relationship with Portales, 27, but they agreed to let Perez move in with them.

Then, one day after he had left their Kenner apartment for work, Portales got a text message from the woman. She told him that Perez had just assaulted her.

“He suddenly jumped out on me and wanted to rip off my pants,” she wrote in Spanish. “I couldn't fight him off and I told him I would scream. And he threatened me to not scream.”

Prosecutors say Portales sent a copy of that text to another woman he was dating in Florida. They don’t spell out what they believe happened next. But it was the last day that Portales was ever heard from or seen alive.

After a few days, his pastor and his estranged wife reported him missing to Kenner police, who questioned both of his roommates.

When police confronted the woman with the text Portales had sent to the Florida woman, she told police that Perez had forced her to engage in oral sex. 

Police immediately jailed Perez on a count of rape.

Later, authorities discovered a severed arm in a canal in Reserve and determined it belonged to Portales. Perez was charged with second-degree murder and obstruction of justice after more of Portales' body parts were discovered.

In court filings this week, Assistant District Attorney Kellie Rish argued that text messages recounting the alleged sexual assault would illustrate “motive, opportunity, intent, preparation” and the “absence of mistake or accident” in Portales’ death.

"There was a strong desire for the defendant to regain his position as the head of the household" he shared with the woman and Portales, Rish argued. "The victim was an obstacle."

Perez's attorney, Donna Orjuela, objected. An act prior to an alleged crime is not typically held against a defendant.

But during a hearing Wednesday, Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of 24th Judicial District Court decided that the case merited an exception, and she ruled in favor of the prosecution.

A trial is tentatively set for March 8. Perez faces mandatory life imprisonment if convicted of murder.

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Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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