David Perry, the only suspect in the disappearance and probable murder of his then girlfriend St. Pete Police Cadet Kelly Rothwell seems to be getting some karma coming back around to him and there couldn't be a more deserving guy on the planet. Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker will get another shot at David Perry for Fraud and Grand Larceny charges stemming from an alleged Work-Comp related accident in 2003. Perry who was convicted of those same charges in Broome County and sentenced to 4-12 years originally was also charged with those same offenses in Steuben County. But County Judge Joseph Latham threw out the charges on the grounds that the fraud had not been proven in the Broome County case. With that ruling he also negated the seizure of assets that New York State Police executed against him last year.
Enter Broome County Asst. DA Sandra Cardone, who was finally able to convict Perry late last year of those charges. Her tenacity, through not one but TWO Grand Juries and two trials resulted in a conviction on Grand Larceny and Fraud charges and a 4-12 year sentence for Perry, who is currently in Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill New York.
Now, with those convictions in hand, DA Baker, who had filed an appeal last year after Judge Latham's ruling, seemed to have the ammunition needed to propel his argument for Perry's trial in Steuben County.
DA Baker's appeal was argued successfully by John Tunney, who retired after 35 years as the DA of Steuben County and is Baker's mentor. The case was reviewed by the judge who granted the appeal of his original ruling and has been added back into his trial calendar. According to DA Baker, who communicated to me by phone earlier Thursday evening, there is no news yet on an appearance date or what attorney will be representing Perry in this trial.
Also included in this ruling of the appeal is the money that was seized in Perry's house; $128,000 found hidden away as well as his other assets, including the new Honda he bought with cash, his house, (which he tried to sell while it was being used for collateral for his bond), motorcycles and snow mobiles. Baker said that he plans to take the $120 K they have been holding on his conviction.
You might have remembered that Perry ALSO was arrested in an assault charge while in the Steuben County jail. He beat up another prisoner, William Hargrave, with a mop bucket and put him in the hospital with a head laceration. Perry pled guilty on the assault and was sentenced to 9 months in jail. Since he was already IN jail, that case against him is finished. But with the weight of the conviction from Broome County, Perry seems headed for some more jail time. Baker said that if convicted, it will be up to Judge Latham to determine whether any possible sentence would run concurrently or consecutively. Lets hope the latter.
I spoke with Nancy Rothwell, Kelly's mother, Thursday evening to tell her of the developments in Perry's case. She seemed pleased that at least some modicum of justice for her daughter might still be meted out. As she has said before, she knew Kelly was in a better place. a place where no one could hurt her anymore. There is still such a quiet sadness about Nancy...she grieves in silence. She has no closure, and she doesn't know where her daughter is, only that she's not home where she belongs.
While I know that all of this is probably scant comfort for Kelly's family, at least they and the rest of the world, can rest a bit easier knowing that Perry is off the streets, for now.
Lets hope someone scares the crap out of him in jail, or maybe the thought of more jail time will make him talk and tell police what he did with Kelly's body. I have always maintained that he took her to New York with him right after he killed he in the Indian Rocks Beach condo they rented that March 11th. He is just mentally sick enough to think he's invincible and I think he knew plenty of places he could have hidden her body among the thousands of acres of state parks from New York to Oklahoma, where he had been traced right after be arrived back in Elmira. He has friends out west, in Arizona, who are convicted felons on drug trafficking charges; maybe they helped him...
What is true and irrefutable is that David Perry is still the ONLY suspect in Kelly's disappearance and probable murder. From where I sit, he deserves to be where he is sitting for a long, long time.
Lets hope Judge Latham agrees.
The information contained in this blog post was obtained exclusively by me and may NOT be used without my express written consent.