The trial for a Florida man accused of murdering his wife and incinerating their home began on Monday after he was held without bond for over a year.
According to ClickOrlando.com, 47-year-old Ildefonso Valdez, of Lake County, FL, is being charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Lizeth Medivil-Valdez.
Investigators say Valdez strangled his wife to death after she told him she wanted a divorce. In an effort to cover up his crime, Valdez then set their Sorrento home on fire.
The Daily Commercial reported that Valdez was booked into Lake County Jail on the morning of Aug. 22, 2014 after an autopsy of Medivil-Valdez’s body showed that she died from strangulation.
There was no ash or carbon monoxide found in her lungs, and the State Fire Marshal’s office found evidence of fire accelerators within the debris, which led them to rule the blaze as arson.
The evidence all pointed to foul play on the part of the deceased woman’s husband, and a homicide investigation found that Valdez murdered his wife after learning of her plans to divorce him.
About two-thirds of all divorces in the U.S. are filed by women, and many involve children who are deeply affected by their parents’ marital troubles. In the case of Valdez, his crimes left the couple’s three children without a mother, and their father is now facing life in prison.
Ildefonso Valdez’s brother, Roberto Valdez, lived across the street from the family at the time of the murder. He remembers his former sister-in-law fondly as he, like many others in the neighborhood, try to make sense of the tragedy.
“She was a good person, a friendly person,” he said.
Valdez’s trial was originally scheduled to begin in early August. It was delayed when a deputy, who is a witness in the case, was deemed not well enough to testify. Jury selection for the trial has now officially begun.
ildefonso pereda valdés.