State Attorney R.J. Larizza said today his office will seek the death penalty as it prosecutes Derrek Wayne Perkins for the stabbing death of his wife Brandi Brooker Perkins on Oct. 13 in Hastings.
Derrek Perkins, 41, was charged with first-degree murder after a 911 caller reported to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office that he had stabbed the victim and fled the house at 4860 Irving Street in Hastings just after 10 p.m. the night of Oct. 13, according to Perkins’s arrest report. The victim was dead when authorities arrived at the scene.
The victim, a resident of Green Cove Springs who worked at a restaurant in St. Augustine, had filed an injunction against Derrek the day before the stabbing and after several intimidating and threatening incidents involving him. Co-workers reported Derrek allegedly stalking for in the days before the stabbing.
Four days before the murder, Derrek allegedly tried to run over Brandi at a gas station as she walked across the lot. She filed aggravated assault charges. Derrek could not be located. The day before the murder a St. Johns County judge granted the injunction against Derrek. The day of the murder, he broke into Brandi’s car as it was parked at her restaurant and stole her purse, again fleeing the scene and avoiding arrest.
That night, according to a witness, Brandi had been picked up from work and was driving with a friend to the house in Hastings when they circled the block intently to be sure that Derrek wasn’t anywhere near. The witness told authorities that as they walked up the steps to the house, the witness turned to close a pet gate when Derrek pushed past the witness who, out of fear, “ran down the steps and crawled under the residence as far as she could,” according to the arrest report.
The witness could hear Brandi yelling “help me!” several times but couldn’t see what was happening. The witness then heard Derrek’s car start and drive off and her own mother screaming for her. She crawled out from under the house and began CPR on Brandi. Derrek was arrested within minutes on State Road 207 around Morrison Road, where “he appeared to have droplets of blood on his legs,” according to the arrest report.
“The defendant savagely stabbed the Victim approximately 14 times as she pleaded for her life,” Larizza said in a statement today. “He lay in wait until she arrived with her co-worker/friend and sprung from his hiding place to carry out the brutal and deadly murder. The defendant’s violent past and penchant for savagery and violence has earned him the ultimate penalty.”
The case is being prosecuted in St. Augustine by Assistant State Attorney Mark Johnson before Circuit Judge R. Lee Smith, a former family judge in Flagler County. Johnson is also prosecuting two first-degree murder cases in Flagler. Perkins is being defended by Junior Barrett, a public defender in the state Office of Criminal Conflict.
Six individuals convicted of murder in St. Johns County are currently on death row. Only one person convicted of a capital crime in St. Johns has been executed since 1973–Johnny Robinson, in 2004. In the Seventh Judicial District, which includes Flagler, Volusia, St. Johns and Putnam, five individuals have been executed since 1973, four of them for murders committed in Volusia. No one from Flagler has been executed. David Snelgrove, previously sentenced to death in Flagler, had his sentence commuted last January. The death sentence of Cornelius Baker is under review.