Columbus jury is chosen to hear rape suspect’s case

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 10, 2001

[04/10/01] COLUMBUS A jury of six men and six women here will decide the fate of Romika Perkins, accused of raping a woman and beating a man at a home on Sky Farm Avenue.

Jurors selected Monday will be kept in a hotel when not at the courthouse for the duration of the trial, expected to end Friday.

Testimony starts Tuesday, and Lorie Stevens, the 36-year-old woman assaulted in one of the most brutal cases in Vicksburg history, is expected to go into the courtroom and identify Perkins, 24, as one of her two assailants.

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Businessman Glenn Triplett, who may also testify, was beaten with a baseball bat.

Trial for the second man accused, Derrick Warren, 18, is to be May 21 in Greenwood. Circuit Judge Frank Vollor ordered both cases moved from Warren County in order to find an impartial jury.

Stevens, who moved to Virginia with her children, is expected to testify during both trials.

Looking for a larger home for her family, Stevens met Triplett on July 18, 1999, at a Sky Farm Avenue home he had for sale.

Shortly after her arrival, Stevens was confronted by two men who locked her children in a closet and sexually assaulted her.

Settling the last of pretrial motions, Vollor ruled Thursday that a statement Perkins gave to police and the search of his automobile on the day of his arrest could be presented as evidence.

Perkins, who once lived in Columbus, is facing two life sentences if convicted of rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault and kidnapping charges.

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

Stevens and her family are suing Triplett, saying he should have had the premises secure before the family arrived to see the house. The case was set to go to trial Jan. 16, but was delayed.

A new date for the trial has not been set.

In February, the City of Vicksburg settled a lawsuit Stevens filed based on reports of abusive comments about her character made by a former Vicksburg police sergeant.

Without admitting liability, the city paid Stevens $10,000 to settle the suit.

Under Mississippi law, the identity of rape victims is confidential and may be released only at the option of the victim.