Vollor: Perkins’ statement can be used in Columbus

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 6, 2001

[04/06/01] A statement made to police after Romika Perkins was accused of raping a woman and beating the man who was showing her a house on Sky Farm Avenue may be used as evidence against him in his trial next week.

Circuit Court Judge Frank Vollor ruled Thursday that the rights of Perkins, 24, were not violated when he was arrested on July 19, 1999. Vollor also ruled the search of Perkins’ car was legal and any evidence found in it can be used by prosecutors.

The trial of Perkins, indicted on rape, aggravated assault and kidnapping and armed robbery charges, is to begin Monday in Columbus.

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His attorney, Chris Klotz of Jackson, told Vollor on March 22 that his client was promised leniency and threatened by police the day of his arrest on charges he raped a 36-year-old woman, Lorie Stevens, after locking her children in a closet. He is also accused of beating Vicksburg businessman Glenn Triplett, who was showing the family the house he had for sale.

Police officers testified there was no coercion involved.

Although state law shields the identity of sexual assault victims, Stevens chose to waive that provision.

Perkins, along with Derrick Warren, 18, both Vicksburg residents, were arrested one day after Stevens and Triplett were attacked.

In his ruling, Vollor said the police had probable cause to stop and arrest Perkins because of descriptions they had received from the victims.

Warren’s trial is set for May 21 in Greenwood. Vollor had earlier granted a defense motion that the trials be moved, finding that an impartial jury was unlikely in the county where the attacks occurred.

One civil suit stemming from the case was settled in February, and another is pending in Warren County Circuit Court.

Without admitting liability, the City of Vicksburg paid Stevens $10,000. Stevens had filed a lawsuit based on graphic racial and sexual remarks alleged to have been made by a police sergeant not assigned to the case. The officer, Sgt. Carl Houston, who left the department months later, was not disciplined in any way made public and has said no such statements were ever made. Last fall, his name was added to a list of people eligible for rehiring, but he has not been rehired.

The second suit, filed in January by Stevens and her former husband, Joe Stevens, is asking for unspecified damages from Triplett. The suit claims that Triplett should have secured the premises before the family arrived to see the home. That suit was set to go to trial Jan. 16 but was postponed. A new date has not been set.