Grover Beach man sentenced to 85 years to life for murdering roommate

Manuel Jesus Perez

A 43-year-old Grover Beach man received a prison sentence of 85 years to life for killing his roommate and 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. Perez then confessed to the murder.

During a three-week trial this January, Perez claimed he killed Kienly in self defense. Prosecutors argued Perez planned the killing after becoming paranoid of his roommate.

The jury convicted Perez of first-degree murder and arson. On Wednesday, he was sentenced for the crimes.

Perez had prior convictions of first-degree residential burglary. He is currently being held without bail in the San Luis Obispo County Jail.