After being put on a long list of sex crime allegations in 2019, prosecutors say a former sheriff’s deputy and his ex-teacher worked hand-in-hand to commit a series of horrific crimes, including abuse on children.
Three years later, they turned around: the couple divorced. And rather than face a jury herself, Cynthia Perkins has agreed to testify against her ex-husband, Dennis Perkins, at his impending trial.
Soft-spoken and dressed in a dark sweater, the former teacher admitted in a Livingston courtroom on Monday that she was involved in a number of horrific offenses with her ex-husband, a SWAT team leader from longtime and narcotics detective in the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office. In exchange for agreeing to testify against him, she pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography, second-degree rape, and mixing harmful substances.
This latest charge claimed that Cynthia used Dennis Perkins’ bodily fluids to tamper with the pastries she then served to students at Westside Junior High School.
Cynthia Perkins feels “remorse” for her actions, her lawyers have said, and wants to help bring her ex-husband to justice. And while she admits to some of the crimes she was charged with, she still believes she was ‘manipulated and twisted’ by her ex-husband into doing things she wouldn’t have done. his own initiative, according to his lawyers.
“She’s very eager to help prosecute the real monster in this case, and that’s Dennis Perkins,” said Paul Scott, Cynthia’s lead attorney.
Charged jointly in 2019, the couple initially faced 150 felony counts, including rape, child pornography, child molestation and video voyeurism.
Cynthia Perkins’ trial was due to begin on Monday with jury selection following a months-long legal battle over whether the former couple should be tried together or individually. His lawyers had also called for the trial to be delayed or moved outside of Livingston, citing a series of comments on social media and local news attention in the rural-suburban parish where the charges of the ex- couple sparked an outcry.
The eleventh-hour deal materialized instead.
Prosecutors from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and defense attorneys from Scott’s Baton Rouge law firm deliberated in the judge’s chambers for nearly three hours Monday morning before reaching an agreement.
Perkins will serve 41 years in prison, his lawyers said. The three counts to which she pleaded guilty – out of 72 charges she initially faced – could have put her behind bars for more than 70 years. His sentencing is scheduled for Friday.
Cynthia Perkins’ willingness to testify against Dennis Perkins was key to the prosecution ultimately agreeing to a deal, prosecutors said.
“We would not have anticipated that she would have been willing to testify unless she had been offered some consideration for it,” Assistant Attorney General Barry Milligan said.
Both sides expressed relief that the victims, some of whom were minors, did not have to discuss the crimes on the witness stand.
At least for now.
If she testifies against her ex-husband, Cynthia Perkins’ testimony would add to a mountain of evidence against the former cop. Some of this evidence was presented during the December trial of Melanie Curtin, a woman accused of helping Dennis Perkins rape and film an adult woman in 2014.
Investigators from the attorney general’s office have described a treasure trove of digital memories that Perkins kept for years as a catalog of his sexual conquests. A sting at Perkins’ home produced “an enormous number of photos and videos” of alleged sex crimes, as well as thousands of text messages and internet histories on a hard drive, Detective Brian Wilson said.
Those files included an 18-minute video of the rape by Perkins and Curtin, which Miligan described as one of the strongest pieces of evidence he had ever seen. Curtin was eventually convicted of aggravated rape, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Reached by text message Monday, Dennis Perkins defense attorney Jarrett Ambeau declined to comment on Cynthia Perkins’ plea deal.
Dennis Perkins tried last summer to strike a deal with the attorney general’s office, but the prosecutor didn’t offer him a deal. On Monday, Milligan reiterated that the office “had no discussions” recently about a plea deal with Dennis Perkins.
As part of her plea deal, she admitted in court that if she had gone to trial, prosecutors would have proven she aided Dennis Perkins in acts including sexual assault of a minor and voyeurism video.