KLAPHEKE CASE: Court-martial rescheduled for Dyess airman

POSTED: 10:38 AM Mar 11 2013   UPDATED: 3:29 PM Jan 27 2014
Christopher Perez
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -

The court-martial trial of a Dyess airman charged in connection with the death of an Abilene toddler has been rescheduled to Tuesday.

Senior Airman Christopher Perez, 23, will undergo a general court-martial Tuesday, March 5 at Dyess Air Force Base. His trial was originally set for Monday. Dyess announced the change Thursday.

Perez is charged with child endangerment and adultery under the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 132 and dereliction of duty (i.e. failure to obey an order or regulation) under Article 92.

Perez underwent a military hearing in October 2012 for his alleged involvement in the home of Tiffany Klapheke, a military dependent and mother of three children.

One of the children, 22-month-old Tamryn, died in the home August 28. An autopsy report revealed she was severely malnourished and dehydrated. Her two sisters, Tatum and Taberlee, survived similar injuries.

According to witness testimony at his hearing, Perez was Tiffany's live-in boyfriend at the time of the child's death and while her husband, Thomas, was deployed in the Middle East. Thomas filed for divorce in October 2012.

Tiffany allegedly locked two of her children, including Tamryn, in their bedrooms whenever she was away. Witnesses testified Perez knew they were locked in their rooms but that he did not have access to them.

Officers who responded to Tiffany's 911 call on August 28 testified the home was littered with animal and human waste. 

Tiffany is charged with three felony counts of injury to a child and is in the Taylor County Jail on bond totaling $500,000. Her criminal trial is set for July 15 in the 104th District Court under District Judge Lee Hamilton. District Attorney James Eidson will prosecute the case.

Col. Donald Eller, a military judge assigned to the Central Region of the Air Force Trial Judiciary at Randolph AFB, Texas, will preside over Perez's military trial.

Maximum punishments that Perez faces, according to the Manual for Courts-Martial:

Max punishments according to Manual for Courts-Martial:

Adultery:

Max punishment: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year.

Dereliction of duty:

The maximum punishment for willful dereliction of duty was increased from 3 months to 6 months confinement and to include a bad conduct discharge because such offenses involve a flaunting of authority and are more closely analogous to disobedience offenses.

Child endangerment:

Max punishment: bad conduct or dishonorable discharge depending on severity and varying ranges of confinement