Perez pleads not guilty, possible witness says victim was hiding in a closet
John Anthony Allport was hiding in a closet in his Tip Top Drive home and talking to a friend on a cell phone right before girlfriend Vickie Perez shot him in the chest, a detective testified Tuesday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
The friend, a semi-retired doctor from LaGrange, Ga., told police he had called Allport back after noticing a missed call, and overheard Perez say, “Get the f—k out of my house! I’m going to kill your a—!” Then he heard Allport reply, “Don’t do that! Don’t shoot me!” followed by the gunshot, and after that, the line went dead, Detective Jason Carden testified.
The shooting occurred during an argument in which Perez locked Allport out of the house, and he climbed back in through a rear window before taking refuge in the closet, Carden said.
He said Perez told police she was waving the gun at Allport to threaten him when it accidentally discharged. Investigators initially thought the shooting was an accident, but soon became suspicious because of the woman’s demeanor, Carden said: “She showed absolutely pretty much no remorse.”
Officers also had a hard time “keeping her on topic” as they questioned her, he said.
Checking the witness’ cell phone, investigators determined his call to Allport occurred three minutes before Perez called 911 at 3:29 p.m. Feb. 20 to report she had shot Allport, he said, adding 911 dispatchers instructed her in giving Allport chest compressions to keep him alive.
Police and medics responding to the call also tried to save him, but he died at the scene, the detective said.
He said Allport, 55, and Perez, 50, just a month earlier had rekindled a relationship, having known each other since high school. They apparently were moving into the 2950 Tip Top Drive house, which had no furniture in the room where Allport was shot.
After Perez locked the doors during their dispute and Allport climbed through the rear window, she tried to push him back outside, she told police. He was about six feet away from her when she shot him, Carden said.
He said interviews with relatives and Allport’s ex-wife revealed he had no history of violence: “He would walk away from an argument.”
Defense attorney Stacey Jackson said after the hearing that Perez also has no violent history: “We believe that she has no violent felonies, no violent past whatsoever,” he said.
Recorder’s Court Judge Julius Hunter sent the case to Muscogee Superior Court. Perez remains jailed without bond on the murder charge, but Jackson hopes to persuade a Superior Court judge to grant her bond in 30 to 45 days.
Jackson said he had only cursory information on the couple’s background.
“All I know at this point is they did know each other from previous years — I think around the ‘90s or whenever — and they had been friends … and just recently did start a relationship,” he said.
Perez’s account differs from what Allport’s friend told police he heard on the phone call, Jackson said:
“Obviously, my client has a different recollection of the conversation that took place…. But I do believe it is true there was a conversation. Mr. Allport may have been on the phone at the time the incident occurred, or either right before the incident did occur, so I did verify that.”
Allport’s death marked this year’s third fatal shooting involving a close relative or intimate partner.
Columbus so far has had seven homicides since Jan. 1.