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.
James M. Mejuto says
WOW! From death to life imprisonment. That’s quite a deal ! ???
You mean pleading guilty to murdering his wife is less of a
There is no reason in hell, this murderer should not get the injection !
James M. Mejuto
Now this is a plea deal I can live with even though he deserves to die by robotic knife stabs 14 times exactly the same sentence he gave his wife when he decided to stab her 14 times.
What I can’t live with is for states to pay millions of dollars while waiting decades to put these animals away for good that are on death row. Also what perturbs me the most are the thousands of plea deals reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. Then while they are out and free to do whatever they want these perbs end up escalating their crimes and killing someone.
Ray W. says
Richard, please contact your local legislator and have him sponsor a bill increasing the number of judges ten-fold, with the same amount of new prosecutors, public defenders, court clerks, legal assistants, courtrooms, judges chambers, and bailiffs and other associated persons.
When I was one of the chief prosecutors in the circuit in the 90’s, I received the annual State Attorneys summary prepared in Tallahassee and distributed to each of the 20 circuits. Every year, approximately 96% of all felony cases pled out. Somewhere between 20-25% of all murder cases went to trial. Sexual battery cases were the next most common, but the percentage was in the teens. Worthless check cases almost never went to trial.
As a division chief, I shared a trial week with another prosecutor. My judge had two trial weeks per month and five prosecutors assigned to him. Monday was jury selection day. The rest of each trial week was available for the actual trials, giving me 48 shared trial days per year. In 1995, my official tally for the year was just over 500 cases resolved in court, with some 200 more never making it to court. Given a 40 hour work week, I had 2000 hours to handle those 700 or so cases, though I worked far more than 40 hours per week. Of the four cases I tried that year, the shortest lasted one week and the longest was nine days. I was in trial for almost 30 of the 48 shared days. I don’t know how I would have tried the other 500 cases that year. My record was 80 pleas on a trial Monday. We started at 8:30 am and kept at it throughout the day, ending up the next morning at about 11:00 am. One prosecutor walked in to offer help; he was sent to another courtroom with a few files. A judge who had some free time corralled a court clerk, a court reporter, a bailiff and some defense attorneys and took care of those cases. Once, with eight bankers boxes to hold my files for pre-trial day, when the attorneys announced what we were going to do on each case that month, a victim walked up at the end of the day and told me that he could not believe that I could keep track of the 200-plus felony cases that were called. I didn’t tell him that I had been up until 2:30 that morning going through each case so I would be prepared for court. None of my four children ever considered becoming a lawyer after watching me work late into the night year after year. As my father used to say: The law is a jealous mistress. It demands all of your time.
I still have the printouts from the mid-80’s, when I was a misdemeanor prosecutor. I averaged about 150 cases per month and 250 counts – some defendants had multiple cases, others had multiple counts. I don’t know if anyone can try 1800 cases in 60 trial days. I did try four defendants late in an afternoon, after taking about 30 MM pleas, with convictions on all four, but I was just opening files, reading police reports, going to the statutes to refresh my memory of the elements to the charges and then posing questions to my witnesses. No trial preparation to speak of. You just did what you had to do.
Let’s face facts. Most commenters on this site who criticize Judge Perkins really have no idea what they are talking about. They hear anecdotes about people killing people while awaiting trial. They form their opinions. They express their anger. Still, they are so removed from reality that they just don’t know how wrong they are. What about the 27 people who have been removed from death row in Florida since 1976, because they were innocent? Many were released because DNA established that another person committed the murder.
So, I will give you an anecdote. It’s a doozy, as old people used to say. Richard should be angry about the case of Wilton Dedge, who simply walked into a convenience store. A young woman who had been brutally sexually assaulted a week earlier was in the store with a friend. She pointed at Wilton and told her friend he had raped her. Wilton denied it and went to trial, at which the victim pointed him out again as her rapist. The jury convicted. Wilton was sentenced to life. Some 19 years later, once DNA testing became widely available, the trial evidence was tested and Wilton was exonerated. Or so everyone involved in the case thought. The prosecutor agreed that the DNA results established that Wilton was not the man who brutally sexually assaulted the victim, but he then argued that the jury’s verdict, which had been upheld on appeal, was more important to society than Wilton’s actual innocence. The trial judge agreed and ordered Wilton to go back to prison for the rest of his life. The 5th DCA disagreed and ordered Wilton’s release after 23 years in custody. It took some four years from DNA testing to actual release from custody, with the prosecution fighting it all the way. I heard the victim speak at a seminar. She encouraged defense attorneys to continue to fight for the innocent. She remains horrified that she pointed out an innocent man in a convenience store on a case of mistaken identity. Wilton didn’t even fit the victim’s initial description of the rapist. Another anecdote. The State quickly dropped a sexual battery case against one of my clients when the DNA came back semen, but non-primate. Sometimes, the accused just didn’t do it. Every time Richard gets angry about a case, he needs to remind himself that sometimes they just didn’t do it and he needs to add to his thoughts that it is better that 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man go to prison. Many of our individual rights are based on that premise. We need a jury of six peers who are unbiased for a reason. We require the accuser to face the defendant in front of that jury for a reason. We have a right to remain silent for a reason. We have a presumption of innocent until proven guilty for a reason. These things are important. Richard’s anger is not. Simple as that. If we base societal decisions on anger, we soon won’t have a society.
Very said for his wife, got an injunction and was still murdered by him. Injunctions don’t work as you can see from this situation and many of others. Maybe anyone that has an injunction against them should have an ankle bracelet on them because an injunction piece of papers does not work.
The Geode says
Isn’t “life in prison” without parole the same as the death penalty? Dying in prison is dying in prison except there’s a date that usually extends for 20 or 30 years
No it is not. He still gets to breath which is more than his wife is doing. Not to mention he lives off the rest of us with three square meals and a cot. Along with free medical and could get a college education. All on your dime.
Hopefully he will get what he really deserves while he’s in prison.
Stop pleading these cases out. As a taxpayer I except the State Attorney’s Office to stop being so lazy and start trying these cases for the death penalty.
Interesting that…, Especially when I would bet the first words out of your mouth are “NO WAY!!”, when asked if you would mind a tax increase to pay for all those extra trials.
Dawn Smith says
Another NUT the tax payers have to support, what ever happened to an eye for an eye. As he did stalk her and waited for her.