In a Court Order on Tuesday, Judge Joseph Latham awarded David Perry, the only suspect in the disappearance and probable murder of his then girlfriend Police cadet Kelly Rothwell in Florida, the seized assets that law enforcement had taken from him in a raid of his house in March of 2012. Perry has been indicted twice on Felony Grand Larceny charges in for faking an injury in 2003 on the job while working as a corrections officer at the Elmira State Prison Facility in Elmira, New York. The seizure of assets, including money, vehicles and Perry’s Elmira home were part of the Fraud investigation into the Work Comp injury.
In this newest and inexplicable and baffling move by the NY Court system that has ignored so much evidence clearly in front of them, Judge Joseph Latham, who signed the search warrant for Perry's home in March, has awarded Perry and his attorney John Scanlon the assets seized of Perry's including the $128, 00.00 cash found hidden in Perry's house, interest on that cash amount held by the state, Perry’s vehicles as well as the house itself. This despite outstanding felony Grand Larceny charges brought about by two counties; Broome and Steuben in NY for Work Comp fraud stemming from an alleged 2003 work-related accident that many allege never happened at Elmira Correctional Facility, where Perry was a Corrections Officer at the time. At the time of his arrest in March of this year, Perry failed to disclose the money when asked by the court if he had any additional monetary assets.
Last July, Broome County, Judge Smith allowed Perry to leave to go to Hawaii to marry Melissa Walker, a woman he met on Craig's List supposedly months AFTER his then girlfriend Kelly Rothwell went "missing " from their shared Florida condo in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, despite the fact that he is the ONLY suspect in her disappearance and probable murder.
Additionally, and as an aside, Perry took Melissa Walker’s surname of Walker as his own; changing it and then on his return to New York, getting a New York driver's license in the name of David Walker. Not so coincidentally perhaps is that Perry ALSO obtained an Enhanced Driver’s License or EDL in the name of David Walker in February of 2012, almost exactly 6 months after he married Melissa Walker and took her name. Coincidentally it usually takes 6 months to actually get an EDL and/ or an International driver’s license. According to DMV.ORG, EDLs are only accepted at land and sea border crossings, not for air travel. The license contains radio-frequency micro chipping that uniquely identifies you in CBP databases, (Custom Border Protection,) which should promote a more expeditious cross. EDLs will be approved forms of identification, in full compliance with the new WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) security measures. Could Melissa Walker have been an avenue by which Perry was able to obtain that license? Could that be the main reason he married her? In late January/early February, Perry listed his house on the market; the SAME house he used as collateral for bail, AND bought a brand new $25, 00.00 Honda with CASH. Can you say Mexico? I wrote a blog outlining what I thought Perry might do; in it I concluded that he must have been getting ready to take off to Mexico …
In a sworn affidavit, Melissa Walker later told authorities that Perry was getting ready to run off to Mexico. This statement comes from the woman who married Perry just months after he met her on Craig’s List. Walker, a National Guard Reservist, was conveniently stationed in Hawaii, where Perry has always wanted to live, shortly after they met. Perry flew there to marry her earlier this year. When Kelly went missing, Walker was questioned by police as to her possible involvement or knowledge. She denied knowing anything about Kelly’s disappearance and declared that she still loved Perry but would be divorcing him, all the while still keeping in touch with him.
Yet there is still no divorce decree that says she ever divorced him, despite her numerous protestations to the contrary. Could she be a part of Kelly’s disappearance and the cover up? What did she or does she know about it?
Now another New York judge, Acting Supreme Court Justice Hon. Joseph Latham, has decided that Perry, who had $128,000.00 HIDDEN under a dresser, money, which, by the way that he did NOT declare he had in his possession when asked by the court, is allowed to have it all back because Steuben County DA Brooks Baker didn’t present enough evidence, evidence he HAD in his possession, to convince a judge that Perry obtained the money illegally by faking a Work Comp- related injury for which he received over $340,000.00 in benefits and pension. Perry also receives Social Security benefits due to the alleged injury as well.
According to the Order, the DA only used two of a potential 16 witnesses’ testimonies; Daniel Kalec, a Corrections Officer, who was in the cell the night that Perry said he hurt his back on an inmate’s bed after a struggle with the inmate, and CO Sgt. Andrew Pedalty, who lives near Perry’s Elmira home. Pedalty saw Perry numerous times riding his bike, running and kayaking, all the while claiming to have hurt his back in the 2003 “inmate altercation”. There are also photos of Perry kite sailing and running in Florida that were provided to the DA, but it is unknown if these were ever presented as evidence. There were several other signed affidavits by other CO’s, those who witnessed the altercation that Perry was never a part of but for some reason, these were not presented as evidence. CO Craig Mosher is one that was never asked to testify even though he was present and could have refuted Perry’s testimony to Work Comp about the alleged injury that day in October 2003. Why?
During the September 5, 2012 hearing in front of Judge Latham on the seizure of assets matter, Perry remained mute to every question, invoking his 5th Amendment right to refuse to answer so he wouldn’t incriminate himself. Abject of that, DA Baker had no real way to prove anything other than to present what the judge’s order characterized as limited. Investigator Eric Hurd, who has been on this case since the beginning, did not testify either, but provided background information on Kalec’s statement. Why wasn’t he called to testify? Is it possible that DA Baker is holding that both Hurd’s and other witnesses testimonies for the criminal part of this investigation?
One would hope so… but he better do it quick. He is quickly losing any momentum and the time is now to present what he’s got in the way of evidence or Perry will once again get away with about a scratch.
There IS still the issue of the Assault charge that Perry has pending from a fight with James Hargraves, an inmate at the Steuben County jail that Perry put in the hospital with a head laceration; Steuben County is still prosecuting him on that charge. But maybe the judge will just chalk THAT up to good ole’ fashioned hijinks among prisoners and let that slide too…there is absolutely NO telling what these New York judges will do from one day to the next…
Kelly Rothwell, a St. Petersburg Police Academy police cadet, one month from graduation, went missing the evening of Saturday, March 12, 2011 when she left a friend's house to go home to break up with Perry after a stormy three year relationship. Perry has a documented history of domestic and child abuse violence. Kelly, a dependable, steady class attendant at the Academy, had never missed a day of classes. She has not been seen or heard from since.
Perry, who has been described by Rothwell to her family as domineering, controlling, possessive, and abusive, is still the only suspect in her disappearance and probable murder. He took off to New York the same day Rothwell came home to break up with him. Downstairs neighbor Ken Williamson and his wife heard loud thumping on their ceiling, followed by incessant vacuuming. Shortly after that, Perry took off for New York, then left almost immediately after stopping in Elmira and telling his daughter Britney and her husband who were living in his Elmira home ‘not to listen to what people might say about me.” He was tracked to Oklahoma, but from there no one knows where he went. He returned about three days later. More on this in the next blog.
Judge Latham can be reached at:
Steuben County Court and Family Court
3 East Pulteney Square
Bath, NY 14823
Bath, NY 14823
I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.
Meanwhile, Kelly Rothwell is still missing and Perry remains the only suspect in her disappearance.
This article contains information that was obtained exclusively by me, is copyrighted and cannot be used or reproduced in any way without my express permission for it's reproduction unless/ and/ or/ is expressly attributed to Leigh Clifton and Tampa Bay Crime Report. Leigh Clifton © 2012