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Hawaii-based soldier admits to beating, stabbing his wife

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii-based soldier has admitted to beating his wife with a baseball bat while she lay face down on the bed as she slept, and then stabbing her in the back the morning after their first anniversary.

Army Spc. Raul Hernandez Perez changed his plea Monday in the death of Selena Roth, 25, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

In exchange for pleading guilty to premeditated murder and disobeying a no-contact order, he was expected to be sentenced Tuesday to 50 to 65 years in prison following the continuation of victim impact statements in a military courtroom at Wheeler Army Airfield.

He had initially pleaded not guilty in June.

Hernandez Perez, 24, is a signals intelligence analyst assigned to the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade.

Army prosecutors said the couple were going through a divorce initiated by Hernandez Perez, who wanted to get back together with a high school sweetheart in Florida.

Military prosecutors said Hernandez Perez took out a $100,000 life insurance policy on his wife on Dec. 15.

Early in the morning on Jan. 10, Hernandez Perez searched online for how many swings it took to kill someone with a bat.

He acknowledged in court that he retrieved a baseball bat from the garage and bashed her on the head four times as she lay face down.

When he saw her chest was still rising and falling, he said he got a kitchen knife and plunged it in her back four times.

Her body was found on Jan. 13 stuffed in an outdoor trash bin which had been moved just inside Roth’s house on Schofield Barracks.

Nearly a dozen of Roth’s family members flew to Hawaii for the hearing. They spoke of her love for her 2-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, her concern and love for stray animals and the strain her death has caused.