Grover Beach man convicted of murdering roommate, burning body

Manuel Jesus Perez

A San Luis Obispo jury found a Grover Beach man guilty of the premeditated murder of  his roommate and for setting the victim’s body on fire.

On the morning of July 11, 2016, Grover Beach police officers and Five Cities firefighters arrived at an apartment in the 100 block of N. 13th Street to battle a small fire. Inside the apartment, officers discovered the body of 37-year-old Joseph Charles Kienly IV.

Soon after, officers arrested Manuel Jesus Perez, 43. Perez allegedly confessed to the murder during an interrogation.

During trial, Perez claimed he killed Kienly in self defense. Prosecutors argued Perez planned the killing after becoming paranoid of his roommate.

On Wednesday, jurors convicted Perez of first-degree murder and arson.

Perez will return to court on Feb. 7 for a hearing to determine the validity of two prior convictions for first-degree residential burglary committed in 1995 in Ventura County. Perez’s sentencing date will be set following the hearing on his prior convictions.