Trial to begin for former Wake County teacher accused of killing husband

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Trial to begin for Joanna Madonna (WTVD)

Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of a former Wake County teacher who confessed to killing her husband.

According to search warrants released in May, a Wake County Sheriff's investigator wrote Joanna Madonna "...admitted to killing Jose Perez and claimed to have had to use a pistol and knife to kill him in defense of herself."

The 48-year-old was charged on Father's Day weekend in 2013 with the murder of the 64-year-old Perez. She has been in jail since then.

Although Madonna is said to have claimed she killed Perez in self-defense, investigators have pointed out in the search warrant that she didn't call police when she felt threatened or to report killing her husband.

They said she left his body lying in the area of Old Bayleaf Road and Highway 98, and when confronted initially, told investigators she didn't know where her husband was.

Authorities said she told them the 64-year old left on foot with a suitcase to have an affair with another woman and had been hanging out with drug users.

According to officials, it was her children who provided police with early information that made her the prime suspect in the case.

Madonna reportedly worked as a translator for a Raleigh law firm.

Prior to her arrest, Wake County Schools confirmed Madonna worked for the district as a substitute teacher from March 2009 to March 2013. She spent the entire 2011-2012 school year as a full-time Spanish teacher. She spent the last three months before leaving in March, as a special education teacher at Garner High School.

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