Last Oct. 13, Derrek Wayne Perkins waited for his wife Brandi Brooker Perkins to get home from work, and as she was walking up to the front door at 4860 Irving Street in Hastings, assaulted her and stabbed her 14 times, killing her.
Days earlier Derrek Perkins had been charged with aggravated assault when he tried to run her over. He fled and evaded detection until the night of the murder. Meanwhile, Brandi Perkins had obtained an injunction against him. She feared for her life, and had circled the property in her car, moments before the murder, on the lookout for his car.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Derrek Perkins within minutes of the murder in the area of State Road 207 and Morrison Road. There was blood on his legs. A grand jury indicted him on charges of first-degree murder, armed burglary and armed, aggravated stalking on Oct. 14. A month later, State Attorney R.J. Larizza announced he would be seeking the death penalty for Perkins, 41. “”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.”
Today (April 16), Perkins pleaded guilty to all charges before Circuit Judge Howard Maltz in St. Augustine. The judge then sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The plea essentially spared Perkins his life–and spared prosecutors, defense lawyers and taxpayers years of litigation and appeals.
The two sides agreed to the deal on April 1. “The defense and the State have reached an agreement to resolve all of Derrek Perkins’ pending criminal cases,” Assistant State Attorney Mark Johnson, who prosecuted the case, wrote the judge’s office that day, “which include not only the murder case and those that the State was seeking to consolidate, but also an unrelated DUI. The sentence is completely negotiated. It does not involve any range.” In other words, it was to be either life in prison for Perkins, or no deal.
He was also found guilty of theft in an unrelated case, and guilty on the aggravated assault charge stemming from his attempt to run over his wife. He’d also faced a drunk driving charge from a year earlier. That charge was dropped. Perkins was represented by Junior Barrett, chief assistant regional counsel in the Office of Criminal Conflict, a part of the public defender system.