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Death penalty dropped in killing of Va. officer

Prosecutors told a judge they don't have enough evidence to seek the death penalty for a man already serving nearly 97 years for other crimes

By Elisabeth Hulette
The Virginian-Pilot

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.  Even if he's found guilty of murder, Raymond Lewis Perry won't be put to death.

Before Monday, prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty in their case against Perry, who is accused of killing Norfolk police officer Victor Decker in 2010.

But Monday morning, they told a judge they don't have enough evidence to make that case. Instead, they're seeking life in prison for Perry, who already is serving nearly 97 years for other crimes.

The move comes one week after Commonwealth's Attorney Colin Stolle dropped all charges against Kareem Hasson Turner, the other man who had been accused of murdering Decker.

Stolle said his office had discovered that one, possibly two witnesses perjured themselves in the case. Without their testimony, he said, his team didn't have enough evidence to prosecute. Turner was released from the city jail.

Now, Stolle said Monday, the loss of those same witnesses has left him unable to seek the death penalty against Perry.

Perry still faces charges of capital murder, first-degree murder, robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. If convicted on the capital murder charge, he would get a life sentence on top of the time he already is serving.

His trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 30.

Decker was found dead by the side of the road in October 2010, after attending a fundraiser at the former Atlantis Gentlemen's Club on Oceana Boulevard. His case went cold for two years until Perry was charged in summer 2012. Turner was charged a few months later.

Defense attorneys in both cases have said the prosecution's case is built on the testimony of jailhouse informants. David Bouchard, one of Perry's lawyers, repeated that statement in court Monday. The commonwealth's attorney's office has 17 "snitch witnesses," he said, most of whom are incarcerated. He told the judge his team is working to analyze and debrief all of them.

A spokeswoman for Stolle's office declined to comment, noting that everyone involved in Perry's case is under a gag order.

Copyright 2014 The Virginian-Pilot


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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