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State to seek death penalty for man accused of fatally stabbing wife in St. Johns County

Derrek Perkins charged with first-degree murder

Booking photo of Derrek Perkins
Booking photo of Derrek Perkins (Provided by St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

The state intends to seek the death penalty against a man accused of fatally stabbing his wife in St. Johns County, the State Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Derrek Perkins, 41, was indicted Oct. 14 by a grand jury on one count of first-degree murder, one count of burglary of a dwelling with assault/battery while armed and aggravated stalking with a weapon.

On Oct. 13, according to investigators, Perkins attacked Brandi Brooker, 35, as she arrived at a home where she was staying in the Hastings area. State Attorney R.J. Larizza said the victim was “savagely stabbed” about 14 times as she pleaded for her life.

“He lay in wait until she arrived with her co-worker/friend and sprung from his hiding place,” Larizza said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, said another person inside the house heard the victim yelling “help me” and then called 911. Minutes after the attack, deputies said, Perkins was arrested in the area of State Road 207 and Morrison Road with blood on his legs.

The State Attorney’s Office said Brooker was no longer interested in continuing a relationship with Perkins, and Brooker’s family said she left Perkins before she was killed.

On Oct. 9, investigators said, Perkins tried running over Brooker with his car. On Oct. 12, Brooker took out a restraining order against him -- which had not been served yet. The next day, deputies said, Perkins went to her workplace and stole her wallet hours before she was killed.

Prosecutors said the state’s notice of intent to seek the death penalty -- which was filed Wednesday -- lists multiple aggravating factors, including that the incident was “heinous, atrocious or cruel” and “committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.”

Family said Brooker was the mother of two girls and, no matter what she went through, she never lost her smile.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, there are resources available:

  • The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, which will direct you to the nearest shelter, is 1-800-500-1119.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day. The number is 1-800-799-SAFE.
  • The Micah’s Place (Nassau County) Domestic Violence Help Hotline is 904-225-9979.
  • The Hubbard House in Jacksonville can be reached by dialing 904-354-3114.
  • The hotline number of Quigley House in Clay County is 904-284-0340.
  • The Betty Griffin Center in St. Johns County can be reached at 904-824-1555.