Judge: No More Delays in Trial of University Park Woman Accused of Distributing Child Porn
Almost a year ago, Erika Perdue, a 41-year-old "socialite" from a tony University Park neighborhood, was arrested and indicted on charges of distributing lots and lots of child pornography. As we reported that July, she was released to a rehab center in Argyle two days after her arrest, but was booted out for attempting suicide. Her psychologists and the administration at the rehab facility agreed that she constituted a danger to herself and others, leading her probation officer to request that the court find her in violation of the conditions of her pretrial release. The judge agreed, and she was taken into custody.
Image via Facebook Erika Perdue
That was almost nine months ago. Since then, we've received an astonishing number of emails from people wanting updates on the Perdue case, most of them from people claiming to be her neighbors.
"All of the sudden people are seeing her green "MY SYN" car driving around town again," one person wrote, describing herself as a "near-neighbor" to the Perdues. "Is she OUT? A bunch of parents in UP are starting to worry - do you have access to information on her case?"
Since the rumor mill up in University Park appears to be churning full-speed, here's an update. According to one of her lawyers, Patrick McLain, Perdue is being held at the Mansfield Law Enforcement Center, a federal detention center in Tarrant County, about 20 miles southeast of Fort Worth. There's no indication that she's been anywhere other than the rehab facility and Mansfield since her arrest, including driving the streets of UP in her green MY SYN mobile.
Since she was detained in late June, her attorneys have asked for no less than five continuances in the case. The first was in July, as her attorneys requested more time to review the forensic evidence found on Perdue's computers and other electronic devices. In September, attorney Deborah Goodall asked for the second continuance, but asked that the reasons for it be sealed, "due to potential scrutiny by the media, as has occurred in the past. On a prior occasion the contents of a motion filed on Defendant's behalf, which contained personal medical information, were quoted in news accounts in televised and written media. Accordingly, the Defendant believes it is in the interests of justice for the grounds to be related only to the Court and the government."
That request was granted, as were additional requests for more time, one in November and two more in March. On March 29, McLain, who'd been newly hired onto Perdue's legal team, announced that he'd discovered "additional discovery matters and a need for a review of evidence by a defense consultant in computer forensic examination." He also said that Perdue had been offered a deal by the government to settle the case, which she couldn't accept or deny until the new "forensic examination" was completed.
On March 29, Judge Sam Lindsay agreed to continue the case. One more time. With conditions. In his order, he wrote, in bold: "This will be the fifth continuance in
this case. The court expects this to be final trial setting in this case. The court expects this case to be resolved or the parties to be ready to try the case in October. Any further motions for continuances of the trial date will be denied unless exceptional or extraordinary circumstances can be shown to exist."
In the meantime, McLain told me in a brief phone conversation earlier this week, "No way am I letting anybody talk to her."
I asked if it would be fair to say that mental health issues played a role in the case.
"That would be an understatement," McLain replied. "I wouldn't actually know the answers. I don't think it's been resolved, even though she's been there for a year.
There are a lot of issues of competence and responsibility that need to be resolved."
So there's that. The trial is now set for October 15.