UPDATE: As of June 4, no decision has been made on whether Dennis Perkins will be tried separately from his wife.
(Livingston Parish News) – Lawyers representing a former high-ranking law enforcement officer asked a judge this week to try him separately from his wife, a former teacher, two months before they are set to go to trial for a slew of sexual abuse crimes.
The “motion to sever defendants” request marks the latest chapter in the case involving Dennis and Cynthia Perkins, the husband and wife who were arrested in October 2019 after an investigation spearheaded by the Attorney General’s Office.
The investigation was initiated following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding the possible possession and distribution of child pornography, Attorney General Jeff Landry said at the time.
The request for a separate trial was made on behalf of Dennis Perkins, a former SWAT team commander in the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office who was terminated when the allegations came to light.
Cynthia Perkins, a former middle school teacher at Westside Junior High, filed for divorce days after the two were indicted, alleging Dennis Perkins had made “sufficient threats that render her fearful of (him).”
A third person, 42-year-old Melanie Curtin, was later charged with aggravated rape of an adult and video voyeurism. Authorities have said they believe Curtin helped Dennis Perkins film the sexual assault of an unconscious victim.
On Monday, lawyers for Dennis Perkins asked a judge for a separate trial from his wife, arguing he would be “unduly prejudiced” by his wife’s earlier testimony. The request stems from a judge’s decision to allow certain evidence to be presented against only his wife, while other evidence can only be presented against Dennis Perkins, according to records.
The couple was jointly indicted, so they would be tried together unless a judge granted a severance.
“The interests of justice will be greater served by allowing [Dennis Perkins] to be tried individually,” his lawyers wrote. “If this Court does not grant the defendant’s request, he will be unduly prejudiced by the testimony of his [co-defendant].”
A hearing to determine if Dennis and Cynthia Perkins will be tried separately is set for June 4. If denied, the case is expected to go to trial in July.