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Stabbing victim’s family cannot understand why he stayed with girlfriend


The family of the J.B. Wise Place man stabbed to death last weekend thought his live-in girlfriend was trouble.

Family members tried to persuade Henry J. Perkins Jr., 34, several times to break up with her, but he stayed with her. They were together for three years. Now he is dead, and she is charged with his murder.

The girlfriend, Breanna L. Simpson, 31, of 117 J.B. Wise Place, Apt. 202, was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of second-degree murder after she allegedly stabbed him in the torso Sunday night in their downtown apartment. She pleaded not guilty.

She is accused of stabbing Mr. Perkins once in the torso during an argument in their second-floor downtown apartment on Sunday night.

The court proceeding lasted less than two minutes and she responded to a few questions from Judge Eugene R. Renzi, quietly with one-word answers. Heaven M. Perkins, sister of the victim, and another woman sobbed throughout the arraignment.

The judge sent Simpson to the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building without bail. With several family members of the victim in the courtroom and to avoid a possible security risk, police took Simpson out through a back door at City Hall to a waiting police vehicle.

According to court papers, Mr. Perkins suffered a 3-inch chest wound. He was found not breathing, lying on the bedroom floor.

Before police arrived, Simpson called an ex-boyfriend, Charles McIntyre, to tell him to come over and bring Band-aids because she had cut her knee. When he got there about 6:45 p.m., Mr. McIntyre saw blood everywhere, according to court papers.

She then told him the blood was from Mr. Perkins and repeated several times, “I didn’t do it,” he told police. He tried calling 911, but Simpson pulled the phone out of his hand before he was able to call for an ambulance, the court papers said. When the police got there, she blamed Mr. McIntyre, who told officers that Simpson was at the apartment and knew what happened.

In police reports, officers wrote that it looked like someone had tried to scrub blood from bathroom walls, tub and floor, and the bloody shower curtain had been ripped down.

Simpson suffered from various cuts all over her hands, arms and legs, according to a police report. She told police that she thought she was going to suffer “a panic attack” while she waited outdoors and investigators were inside.

“At several points, she would start to cry and then stop and ask how ‘Henry’ was,” police officer Adam A. Beshures wrote in his report.

According to other police reports, a friend’s young daughter stayed the night at the apartment and was there when the stabbing happened. The girl, whom the Times is not identifying, told police she heard the couple arguing but did not see what happened.

A few minutes later, Simpson told the girl that Mr. Perkins cut himself with a knife, pointing toward her upper chest.

Earlier this week, family members said they expected Simpson’s arrest, although they had no comment after attending the arraignment.

“He kept going back to her,” Heaven Perkins said Tuesday.

Mr. Perkins moved in with Simpson just 23 days before his death. There were past incidents of violence between the two.

Simpson — who apparently showed her love by having his last name, “Perkins,” tattooed on her left ring finger — was convicted of stabbing him in the right side of his back with a kitchen knife during an argument last September. He recovered from the injury. They remained together.

Mr. Perkins was arrested in May 2012 on a charge of third-degree assault after he allegedly stomped on Simpson during an incident at her residence. He ended up pleading guilty to harassment and was fined $50.

“He loved her,” Heaven Perkins said.

And the family did not understand why he stayed.

Several months ago, the couple lived with his family in its four-bedroom State Street home, but Simpson did not get along with the other family members, said his mother, Sharon L. Perkins. Simpson had a tendency for “violent behavior,” and showed signs of drinking and substance abuse problems, the mother said.

“I threw her out,” she said. “I told my son to stay away from her.”

She gave family members a bad impression from the beginning, they said.

“I didn’t like her from the first day,” Heaven Perkins said, adding that she could not understand why her brother didn’t listen to them.

His mother described him as “a good boy,” who liked to fish and be outdoors. And she acknowledged that he, too, had gotten into legal trouble but would not discuss the details.

On Sunday, when family members talked to him and visited him, Mr. Perkins was in a good mood, they said. He told his father, Henry J. Perkins Sr., that he loved him.

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