Perkins found guilty of rape; gets life, no parole

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 16, 2001

[04/16/01] COLUMBUS After deliberating for 3 1/2 hours Friday afternoon, a jury here found Romika Perkins guilty of all counts Friday afternoon and sentenced him to life in prison for raping a woman at a Sky Farm home in 1999.

Warren County Circuit Court Judge Frank Vollor, who presided here, sentenced him to an additional 300 years for aggravated assault, six counts of kidnapping and two counts of armed robbery.

“It is time for you to start serving the sentence you justly deserve,” Vollor said.

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Because he was sentenced to life in prison for a sex crime, Perkins, who showed no emotion when the verdicts were read, will not be eligible for parole. “Someday I hope you realize the horrible pain you inflected on this family, because I don’t think you do,” Vollor told him.

A jury of six men and six women, who were sequestered during the five-day trial, deliberated after closing arguments ended at 1 p.m. District Attorney Gil Martin said the result was gratifying for everyone involved in the case.

“This is one of the most emotional trials any of us have ever been through, and it is gratifying to see it end this way, especially for the victim,” Martin said.

In agonizing detail, Lorie Stevens, testified that Perkins led her to an upstairs room of a Sky Farm home on July 18, 1999, and raped her while her children were locked in a utility closet downstairs. She told the jury that she could hear her 3-month-old crying throughout the attack and feared that if she fought back, he and her three other sons would be killed.

Assistant District Attorney John Bullard, who tried the case along with Martin, said during his closing remarks that Stevens and her family would forever have to live with the memories of that day.

“Romika Perkins handed six people a life sentence that day in July,” Bullard said. “Now it is time for him to pay.”

Stevens, 36, and her children, who moved to Virginia after the attack, were interested in purchasing the home at 2090 Sky Farm Ave. and had gone there that Sunday to meet the owner, Glenn Triplett. When they arrived, Perkins and another man believed by police to be 19-year-old Derrick Warren accosted the family and locked them in a cramped closet in the two-story home.

Triplett, 67, testified that when he arrived at the home minutes later, the two men attacked him with an aluminum baseball bat and beat him unconscious.

The six were left tied up at the home after Perkins and the other man left with Stevens’ and Triplett’s bank cards. Later that same day, Perkins and Warren were videotaped using the cards at a local ATM. They were arrested the next day.

Perkins took the stand Thursday and told the jury that a man named Reggie, along with Warren, had terrorized the family while Perkins attempted to be the voice of reason. The testimony conflicted with the statement Perkins gave to police on the day of his arrest. In that statement, he admitted to raping Stevens, beating Triplett and then robbing them at gunpoint. Details of the earlier statement also match testimony of the victims who appeared earlier in the week.

Thursday, Perkins said he did not want to disclose Reggie’s identity to police, even though he had already done so with Warren.

“What is this the Reggie defense?” Bullard asked the jury during his closing remarks.

Before sentencing Perkins, Vollor praised Lorie Stevens, who was seated in the Lowndes County Courthouse when the verdicts were read. “Your heroic acts saved the lives of your children, and that will live on forever.”

Vollor also praised Triplett’s actions that day. When Triplett regained consciousness after the beating, he stumbled into the room where Lorie Stevens and her 14-year-old son were tied up and attempted to help them.

Jackson Attorney Chris Klotz, who represented Perkins, said he plans to appeal the verdicts as soon as possible. Vollor had moved Perkins’ trial to Columbus after granting a motion that an impartial jury could not be found in Warren County.

Warren is set to go to trial May 21 in Greenwood.