Salt Lake County Jail
Gerardo Enrique Perez, 20.

SALT LAKE CITY — A West Valley man has pleaded guilty to murder after brutally attacking a stranger on the street with a hammer, leaving him with fatal injuries.

Gerardo Enrique Perez, 20, pleaded guilty Oct. 13 to a reduced charge of murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of 68-year-old Leslie Beus. Perez also admitted to one count of aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony, and aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.

Perez was charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, after Beus died of his injuries four weeks after the attack. That charge was reduced and additional charges were dismissed — including obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; two more counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and interfering with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor — as part of a plea deal.

Plea documents filed in 3rd District Court last week indicate Perez was "suffering from a delusion caused by a mental illness" when he attacked Beus.

According to witnesses, Perez was acting "like a zombie" when he approached Beus outside his home near 5600 West and 4800 South and started bludgeoning him in the head with the hammer and a large knife.

Beus also admitted to continuing the attack when Beus fled into his house and to threatening at least one other person with the weapons.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13.