06 February 2019 :
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg throws out death sentence of Eric Perkinson. A federal judge in Atlanta has thrown out the death sentence imposed against a man who carjacked and killed a 16-year-old Dunwoody High School student. Eric Perkinson must stand trial within 120 days on the question of whether he is intellectually disabled, Judge Totenberg ordered. Alternatively, he could be sentenced to life in prison. If a jury is to find Perkinson to be intellectually disabled, he would be ineligible to get the death penalty. In her ruling, Totenberg found that Perkinson’s lead attorney, Alan Medof, abandoned his client before and during trial, making him incapable of mounting a defense. Also, Totenberg faulted then-Superior Court Judge Jefferson Davis Jr. for refusing to delay the trial when Medof’s co-counsel, Chris Paul, pleaded for more time to prepare. During the 1999 trial, Perkinson, was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Louis Nava, a member of his school’s wrestling team. The killing occurred June 6, 1998, when Nava and his best friend, 17-year-old Dakarai Sloley, were carjacked in the Mount Vernon Shopping Center parking lot by Perkinson and 1 of his accomplices. With Nava shoved into the trunk and Sloley sitting in the passenger seat, they drove 40 miles to a secluded road in Bartow County. Perkinson marched Nava into the woods and fatally shot him in the head. Sloley was shot in the arm when he fled for his life. He flagged down a pizza deliveryman and later identified Perkinson as the gunman.