Jury selection will begin Monday in the murder trial of Peter Erik Hedvall who stands accused of killing Key West restaurant server Jonathan Alvarado Perez in 2011.
Hedvall was charged with first-degree murder and faces life in prison if convicted.
Monroe County State Attorney Catherine Vogel has declined to comment on pre-trial strategies surrounding the case, but typically jury selection in such serious often takes at least a day if not two or three and the trial itself could take as long as two weeks if history is any guide.
Defense attorney Alan Fowler has thus far been unable to get county Judge Wayne Miller to toss key pieces of evidence out of the trial, such as the white costume suit prosecutors allege Hedvall was wearing the night of the incident. Police allege they found Perez's blood on that suit.
Prosecutors allege both Hedvall and Perez, 32, had been in the neighborhood tavern Dons' Place, 1000 Truman Ave., hours before Perez's body was found Oct. 28, 2011, beneath a commercial truck parked just a few houses away on Grinnell Street.
Perez was strangled with wire from that Fantasy Fest costume and bludgeoned by a rock, according to a Monroe County medical examiner's autopsy report.
Police detective Matthew Haley testified at Hedvall's bail hearing that small drops of blood on a white Fantasy Fest costume that Hedvall was wearing matched Perez's DNA. Former Truman Avenue resident Honus Hicks testified he saw a man in a white suit bickering with a man wearing costume angel wings the morning Perez died.
Hedvall, formerly of Watson Street, was a former bouncer at Irish Kevin's bar and Bare Assets strip club.
The state is not seeking the death penalty against Hedvall, who remains at Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Perez formerly worked at La Trattoria Oceanside restaurant on South Roosevelt Boulevard.