Defiant to the end, Kenneth D. Perry was found guilty Tuesday of killing two women 12 years ago in the presence of two children, one of them his son.
The 45-year-old defendant, who seemed unrepentant and contentious during much of the weeklong trial in Baltimore Circuit Court, snickered as the jury was sent home and then blamed his lawyer, Janice Bledsoe, for his conviction.
"You got me good, counselor," Perry said. "You really got me good, Ms. Bledsoe."
The attorney, who had only barely masked her exasperation with her client's behavior while trying to represent him, moved away and sat at the prosecution table as Perry continued muttering. Admonished repeatedly by Judge Stuart R. Berger to be quiet, the defendant replied, "I heard you the first time, I heard you the second time, and I heard you the third time."
Finally, as he was led out of the courtroom by guards, he shouted at the victims' relatives. "In five years I'll be back!" Perry yelled, possibly suggesting that he would prefer to be tried again.
"Go to hell!" Donna Webster, mother of LaShawn Jordan, one of the women killed, shouted back at him from the third row. Shortly after, she cried as people hugged her.
The trial was the second in the case. The verdict in the first trial, in which Perry was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in the July 10, 1998, killings, was thrown out after it was revealed that a prosecutor had withheld potentially exculpatory evidence from the defense.
Perry, who described himself as a pool player but worked as a cook and bartender, is to be sentenced April 1.
Roscoe Lewis, a homicide detective who investigated the killings of Jordan and Kelly Bunn, said afterward that he had "no doubt that we would get a guilty verdict." Referring to Perry's courtroom histrionics, Lewis described him as "very arrogant."
Relatives of Jordan and Bunn greeted the verdict with relief, especially given their concern that the case had been weakened by the outcome of the first trial in 2001.
"It's finished," said Michelle Jennings, one of Webster's nieces. "LaShawn and Kelly can now rest in peace, and we can move on. He's a monster."
As in the previous trial, the prosecution called as its chief witness Jordan's daughter, Jewel Williams, who was 4 at the time of the killings. When she and her half brother — Perry's 1-year-old son, Kendall, — were found with the bodies almost two days after the shootings, Jewel immediately identified Perry as the killer. She testified in both trials, first at the age of 7 and, last week, at 17.
"This young woman demonstrated amazing fortitude throughout this process," said Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein. "We are profoundly grateful to her, and we hope this conviction helps to bring some sense of closure for her and her family."
Prosecutors Lisa Phelps and Michael E. Leedy suggested that it was Jordan's attempt to distance herself from Perry and his abusive behavior — and the possibility that she had begun seeing someone else — that led to her death. A few weeks earlier, she had sought a protective order, saying Perry had shown up at her Lennox Street apartment, screaming and demanding entry and hurling bricks at the building.
One of the prosecutors said it was clear that Perry's target was Jordan, and that her friend, Bunn, had been killed because she happened to be staying in the apartment at the time. Both women were shot in the head, Jordan apparently while on her knees, likely begging to be spared, Leedy said. After the killings, Perry fled and was arrested two years later in California.
During the trial, Perry tried the patience of almost everyone in the courtroom. On Monday, he vacillated about whether he should testify, at one point cursing at his lawyer.
"I've done everything to represent this client," an angry Bledsoe told the judge. "I've had it."
"With a very difficult client," Berger replied, "you have done an exemplary job."