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Perrys receive mixed verdict, Windie and Elizabeth convicted, Ernest acquitted


Two week child torture trial ends with mixed verdict

Written by Tavia D. Green

The Leaf-Chronicle

As the clock struck midnight, Judge John H. Gasaway's courtroom was filled with silence as friends, law enforcement and others involved in the  Perry case filled the courtroom gallery.

The jury foreman read each count of the 34 count indictment in the child abuse, child  torture trial of the Perry family and announced that they had become  deadlocked or hung on two counts.

The jurors faces showed mental and physical exhaustion, some seemed as if  they had become emotional at some point. The faces of the accused showed

stress and the room was still as the jury read their verdict:

Windie Perry, 55, was charged with four counts of child rape, 9 counts of  especially aggravated kidnapping and 19 counts of aggravated child abuse

and two counts aggravated child neglect.

Verdict: Windie was found guilty of the lesser charge of facilitation of rape of a  child, two counts of aggravated child abuse, two counts of the lesser  charge false imprisonment, two counts of especially aggravated  kidnapping, one count of aggravated assault and six counts of reckless  endangerment.

She was found not guilty of 19 counts and one count that was hung.

Her bond was revoked and she was turned over to the custody of the Sheriff's Office until her sentencing hearing on March 13.

Windie, showed little emotion as the verdict was read. Her face saddened and full of grief as she'd cried and prayed all day she said.

During the deliberation, she could be heard praying with her friends. She clutched a Bible as she entered the courtroom to hear the verdict.

As her friends left the courtroom, she sat alone waiting for deputies to take her to be booked in the Montgomery County Jail.

"Obviously, she's disappointed," said her attorney, J. Runyon. "I respect the jury system and the jury. "

Ernest Perry, 68, was charged with two counts of aggravated child neglect and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping.

Verdict: Acquitted of all charges.

When asked about his client, Charles Bloodworth said, "We are proud of his service as a retired 1st Sgt, as an Austin Peay police officer," Bloodworth said. "He took on adopted children, which is always a risk. He never shied away from difficult situations. His family has always been the most important thing to him."

Elizabeth Perry, 23, was charged with four counts of child rape, six counts of especially aggravated kidnapping and three counts of

aggravated child abuse.

Verdict: Elizabeth was convicted of the lesser charge facilitation of rape of a child, one count of false imprisonment, two counts of the lesser charge facilitation of especially

aggravated kidnapping and three counts of reckless endangerment. She was found not guilty on five counts and one count that was hung.

She was allowed to remain on her same bond and a sentencing date was set for March 13. Elizabeth, who showed little emotion during the duration of the trial, left the

courtroom quickly and could be heard sobbing as her mother prepared to be taken by deputies for booking.

There was one count the jury was deadlocked on.

Kimberly Lund, prosecutor said the trial was the most difficult and extensive case she's ever tried.

"It's overwhelming," she said. "I think the girls got a measure of justice. It's been very difficult on everyone."

Lund said the jury was one of the best juries she's ever worked with.

"They were all diligent, and took notes...that means a lot to the girls."

After two days and more than 20 hours of deliberation, the jury decided that  Ernest Perry was not guilty of all charges, but Windie, 55, and Elizabeth Perry, 23, were guilty of some of the numerous counts they faced.

The jury began deliberating Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. after hearing about two weeks of evidence.

Friday at 8:30 a.m. they continued their deliberation. Friday afternoon they asked Judge Gasaway to allow them to work into the evening until they reached a verdict.

At 10:30 p.m., Gasaway called them into the courtroom and the foreman announced they had decided 14 counts but were hung on 20. At midnight they had agreed on 18 of those 20 counts.

Jury praised

Judge Gasaway thanked the jury for their service noting that they fulfilled their service and were an excellent jury.

"I want to sincerely thank you for the service you have rendered for the last two weeks, very few are actually called for jury duty and serve for as long as this," Gasaway said. "It's been complex...you've worked hard and taken your service sincerely and all the trial participants are grateful."

Attorneys for the defendants and the State lauded the jury's’ diligence in one of the most extensive and hardest child abuse cases they have ever tried in Montgomery County.

“Regardless of the verdict, this jury worked hard from the beginning,” Charles Bloodworth, Ernest Perry’s attorney said. “Those 14 jurors gave two weeks of their life under strict conditions of no contact.

Even riding up and down the elevator became an undertaking. They were given questionnaires, poked and prodded and responded fairly to the inquires from the defense and state. I think we had a fair jury.”

During the questioning portion of the jury selection process, Bloodworth said both sides selected this jury with challenges to dismiss to spare.

“No one was stuck with this jury,” Bloodworth said. “Both sides declared themselves satisfied with the jury. I think it says a lot about the jury we had. (Everyone) was very content with the jury and believed they were a fair minded cross section of the community.”

It was not surprising that the jury took two days to decide on a fair verdict.

“They had to sit as three juries at once and each count of each defendant was like a separate trial,” Bloodworth said.

Shifting through extensive notes taken over a 7-day period and dissecting the case count by count, defendant by defendant and alleged victim by alleged victim was a huge responsibility.”

Bloodworth said it is one of the most extensive cases he has ever been involved in.

“In terms of length of trial, 10-full days it’s the longest I’ve ever been involved in,” Bloodworth said. “This case everything was questioned, the identity of all three, the two complainants. This case had more expert witnesses than any case I’ve ever seen…everything was challenged. .. It has been one of the most difficult cases I’ve had as a defense attorney.”

“Everyone­-prosecutors, the defense, worked hard on this case. It has got to be three times worse on the judge who has got to ensure a fair trial and his secretary who works to help in preparing jury instructions and verdict forms,” Charles Bloodworth, Ernest Perry’s attorney said. “America should feel excited that we are willing to spend this much time, effort and dollars to get a fair result…”

2012 Jan 28