(Lake County, IL) – The day after 6-year-old Damari Perry was laid to rest, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed a 19-count indictment against his mother and brother, charging both with first-degree murder in the child’s death.
Prosecutors filed the murder charges in a way that allows them to seek natural-life sentences against Damari’s mother, Jannie Perry, 38, and brother, Jeremiah Perry, 20, for the killing.
Jannie and Jeremiah Perry were jointly indicted by a Lake County Grand Jury on eight counts of murder, and additional counts of: aggravated battery of a child, dismembering a human body, conspiracy, aggravated domestic battery, concealment of a homicidal death, endangering the life or health of a child, abuse of a corpse, and each was also charged with obstructing justice.
Jannie Perry was also indicted on one count of failure to report the death or disappearance of a child under 13 years of age.
Prosecutors have stated that the evidence shows that Jannie and Jeremiah Perry formulated and enacted a plan to severely punish Damari through prolonged exposure in a cold shower.
The grand jury found evidence that the murder was “exceptionally brutal and heinous,” which allows prosecutors to seek natural-life sentences on the murder charges for each of the defendants. The charge of dismembering a human body arose from evidence that the family burned Damari’s remains after his death. Prosecutors indicated that they may seek up to 60 years in prison for the dismembering charge alone.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart stated, “As prosecutors considered the crime scene where Damari died, it became clear that this was a calculated plan against a small child. Damari’s final minutes warrant the sentencing enhancements that accompany such ‘brutal and heinous’ circumstances. The defendants’ stunning failure to seek medical attention demonstrates their intent to end Damari’s life. Transporting and burning the body as part of a cover up also warranted the additional serious charges we filed today.”
Jannie and Jeremiah Perry are set to appear in court on Feb. 7 to be arraigned on the charges. Chief of Felony Review Steve Scheller and Chief of Juvenile Justice Karen Levi as well as Assistant States Attorney Russell Caskey have been assigned to prosecute the case.
“Our prosecutors have worked weekends and nights to find the truth of this awful case. I must commend the dedication of Chief Scheller, Chief Levi, the victim advocates at the Children’s Advocacy Center and the detectives with North Chicago Police Department for their countless hours in this important matter.”
The funeral of Damari Perry was held on Feb. 1, 2022.
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