Damari Perry: Brother pleads not guilty to murder of 6-year-old Chicago boy, seeks to represent self in court
The brother of 6-year-old Damari Perry, the Chicago boy whose naked body was found wrapped in a plastic trash bag last month at an abandoned home in Gary, Indiana, pleaded not guilty on Monday to the child’s murder and reportedly seeks to represent himself in court.
Jeremiah Perry, 20, is facing first-degree murder and a slew of other charges in the death of Damari.
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During a virtual court hearing in Lake County on Monday, Perry entered a not guilty plea to all charges, according to online court records.
Lake County Judge George Strickland said Jeremiah Perry had filed several motions requesting to represent himself in court, the Daily Herald reported.
However, his attorney Renea Amen said she had not received a copy of the motions and planned to speak to her client about the matter, according to the paper. The matter was expected to be settled at a hearing on Tuesday.
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Perry also faces charges 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 obstructing justice.
Damari’s mother, 38-year-old Jannie M. Perry, faces the same charges as Perry in addition to one count of failure to report the death or disappearance of a child under 13 years old. She is expected to be arranged on Wednesday.
Three family members have been accused of forcing Damari into a cold shower on Dec. 30 – where they made him stay until he threw up and passed out. Then they allegedly failed to call anyone for assistance.
Authorities have said they discovered the 6-year-old’s remains naked and wrapped in a plastic trash bag on Jan. 8. The child’s body was allegedly dumped near an abandoned house in Gary, Indiana.
Damari is believed to have frozen to death before his partially burned body suffered “charring,” according to Lake County Coroner David Pastrick.
The boy’s family is accused of lying to police and reporters when they claimed the boy went missing on Jan. 5 after his 16-year-old sister brought him to a party in Skokie, Illinois, and lost sight of him.
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A grand jury found evidence in the case to be “exceptionally brutal and heinous,” allowing prosecutors to seek life sentences. Prosecutors may seek up to 60 years alone for charges of dismembering a human body after evidence presented in court showed Jannie and Jeremiah appeared to have attempted to burn Damari’s lifeless body.
Jeremiah Perry and Jannie Perry are being held on 3 million and 5 million bonds, respectively.
Gadget Clock’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.
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