Verdict in Recent Murder Trial
Guilty Verdict Secured in Murder Prosecution Stemming from April 2019 Stabbing Death of Homeless Reno Man

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4304 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has announced that Jesse Manuel Valenzuela, age 41 from Reno has been convicted of one count of First-Degree Murder with the use of a Deadly Weapon following a two-week jury trial that concluded last Monday. Valenzuela was accused of having fatally stabbed 46-year-old Donald Perry in the chest in Reno on April 27, 2019. Sentencing is set for August 31, 2022 in Washoe County District Court and Valenzuela faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


The case against Valenzuela began when the Reno Police Department (RPD) responded to a report of an unconscious, possibly deceased man lying under the Wells Avenue overpass. When RPD patrol officers arrived, they located a deceased male later identified as Perry. RPD Robbery Homicide Detectives (RHU) began an investigation and determined that the victim, who was homeless, had been stabbed in the chest after having met with a former girlfriend and her new boyfriend. RHU detectives quickly identified the new boyfriend as the suspect, who had stabbed the victim without provocation when the involved female had stopped to briefly talk to him. Valenzuela was located and arrested. Following the arrest, this office filed formal criminal charges against the defendant and the case proceeded to trial.


During the trial, Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Bolenbaker presented DNA evidence linking Valenzuela to a bloody knife located at a local auto body shop where he had discarded the murder weapon. Furthermore, evidence of Valenzuela’s statement to police was admitted showing the Defendant’s admission to stabbing Perry, claiming that Perry impaled himself onto the knife. Finally, evidence from the medical examiner was presented to show Perry suffered a stab injury to his heart.

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