Amherst Man Accused of Stabbing Mother to Death, Pleads Not Guilty

(Buffalo, NY, June 4, 2003) - - An Amherst man, accused of stabbing his mother to death, pleaded not guilty Wednesday. News 4's Marie Rice reports an autopsy report shows the woman was stabbed 77 times.

28-year-old Jeremy Perkins pleaded not guilty to second degree murder and criminal weapons charges Wednesday in Erie County Court.

Perkins is accused of stabbing his mother 54-year-old Ellie Perkins to death in her Hopkins Road home in Amherst in March.

The defendant was found mentally fit to stand trial.

His attorney John Nuchereno agrees his client has a minimum level of competency, "...such that he understands the charges, and he understands basically the process of a trial. So, he's fit to proceed in that regard."

But, Nuchereno says Perkins is seriously mentally ill, "There's no question about that, and whether or not that would result in a coming together of all the doctors that examined him to decide whether he is excused from criminal responsibility; that'll be determined shortly."

Nuchereno is filing notice Wednesday to the Erie County District Attorney's office of his intention to offer psychiatric evidence as a defense.

Prosecutor Ken Case told the court that Mrs. Ellie Perkins had been stabbed 77 times. He recommended that the defendant continue to be held without bail.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark says the first issue for the prosecution is determining, if Perkins is criminally liable, "But, unless there's agreement amongst all the doctors, this case could well end up in a courtroom -both as to the issue of guilt or innocence and as to the issue of mentally competent and responsible or not."

District Attorney Clark says death by stabbing is not unusual when you're trying homicides. But, he says 77 stab wounds is really rare.

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