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Judge Accepts 5-Year Plea Deal in Death of Toddler

BROOKSVILLE – There will be no trial in the case of Florida vs William C. Perkins, after a Judge accepted a plea of 5-years behind bars for the killing of a 3-year-old girl.

On April 1st, 2016, Perkins struck three members of the Thomas family, while illegally driving a vehicle on Neff lake Road. 3-year-old Ava Thomas died from her injuries, her 1-year-old brother, Spencer, was critically injured, and their mother, Lacey Thomas was also injured.

The year-long wait leading up to last week’s decision did not go without caveat, as Perkins was arrested in late August for stealing lawn equipment from a local church. That charge resulted in Perkins’ bond being revoked.

In September Perkins’ lawyer, Eric Tippin, attempted to have the case dismissed, based on a technicality that the courts did not have jurisdiction over perkins’ charge of driving on a suspended license. Those attempts failed and Perkins remained behind bars.

On April 26th, Judge Stephen Toner accepted a plea deal of 5-years in Florida State Prison, just 30-days before trial was to begin.

We have been unable to reach the Thomas family for comment.

RELATED ARTICLES: Child, 3 Dies After Family Struck by Car

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  • Premeditated attempt to break the law, but not a premeditated attempt to intentionally do harm or evil.
    He was involved in a terrible accident.
    His penalty was many times more than someone making an honest mistake.
    He is being punished for an accident in which no malice was intended.
    Unlike intentionally stealing, robbing, or committing murder.
    They are likely punishing him for things he’s also done in the past.
    The judge may have been wise.
    Perkins was obviously poor if he would stoop so low as to steal lawn equipment from a church.
    Thus, could not afford a proper defense.
    If what has been reported here is true and his license was in the process of being suspended, then it was technically not suspended, and technically he wasn’t driving in violation of the law.
    And, an accident happened, tragic as it was. But, no more than an accident.
    He wasn’t charged with drinking, speed, carelessness, recklessness, nothing else.
    Maybe the judge thought it best to take what he knew he could get for sure, and not risk a jury seeing an error in the charge.
    Law’s intention is to punish those who intentionally do harm to others. Not to seek revenge for an accident.
    God couldn’t pour p*ss out of a pair of boots if the directions were written on their heels. Know it’s comforting to believe there is an entity that makes everything right in the end, but people need to grow up about that, too.

    Thursday, 4 May 2017, 2:57 pm
  • When you speak of “premeditation” you must also consider that whenever you get behind the wheel of a car while impaired, you are premeditating driving a dangerous vehicle with the chance of injuring or killing yourself or others. It’s very simple, if you intend to drive, don’t drink, if you intend to drink, don’t drive.
    Here we are speaking of someone who, obviously, has little respect for the law. By driving under the circumstances that he did, that was premeditated intent on breaking the law. He then injured two and killed one. This is not just your average accident. With these extenuating circumstances, his penalty should be greater than someone who made an honest mistake.
    I believe the judge was wrong in taking the plea deal. However, as I stated before, God will not let this go unpunished and will serve true justice in the end.

    Thursday, 4 May 2017, 7:25 am
  • Now come on fans no one have anymore comments ?

    Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 8:49 pm
    • What about the fact that he was knowingly operating his vehicle with an expired license? At least that’s what this article leads me to believe. That makes this sound really similar to your shoplifting example in regards to a violent/serious crime happening as a result of a nonviolent one

      Thursday, 4 May 2017, 9:08 am
      • Shoplifting is intentionally doing something evil.
        Driving on an expired license is intentionally breaking the law, but not intentionally doing anything evil.
        Breaking the law by intentionally murdering someone or taking something of someone else’s is intentionally doing evil. Intentionally driving with a suspended license, playing poker with your buddies for money, smoking weed, driving one mile an hour over the speed limit is breaking the law, but not trying to do something evil.
        There is a big difference between trying to do something evil and not trying to do something evil.

        Tuesday, 9 May 2017, 5:09 am
  • Florida has very little sympathy for children losing their life to adults. What a shame. This judge really needs to be voted out! ?

    Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 8:39 pm
    • Yes. That judge does need to be voted out. Five years is far too harsh for what was a terrible tragedy, but still just an unintentional accident.

      Tuesday, 9 May 2017, 5:19 am
  • Why is everyone crying about this ? I know and everyone else knows the truth, so stop the crying and let’s do something about it, we the people of hernando need to VOTE. It is as easy as that, don’t point your finger at no one but yourself. Vote guys, get out and vote.

    Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 10:39 am
  • My son in law got 7.5 years for stealing transmission cores and scrapping them and this guy gets 5 years for killing a little girl. Doesn’t make sense does it. I’m not saying my son in law didn’t deserve his sentence . I’m just saying the justice system is screwed up.

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 8:49 pm
  • We used to have another judge who had earned the nickname “Let ’em lose, Bruce”. Thankfully, he is now, retired. Is this judge going to take his place? Our justice system sucks! Where is the justice for this little girl and her family?

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 8:43 pm
  • The wife is in jail 2 days after giving birth. Both are scum

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 6:31 pm
  • Five yeas for an accident ?
    Something done unintentionally ?
    Intent to kill, or rob, or to do hrm is one thing. This is another.
    Seems like a pretty stiff sentence to me.

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 1:30 pm
    • And your a moron…..

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 2:35 pm
      • Mike,
        Any poor soul, like yourself, who doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re” would in reality be the actual moron with apparently not any more intellect than it takes to be able to call names.
        Well, at least YOU’RE sticking with the one thing you are able to do. LOL

        Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 4:33 pm
        • Here we go again with weeki weeki, really nothing worthwhile to say except correct grammar, punctuation etc. Go ahead correct mine. Guess you don’t care about the loss of a child, apparently you have none, no one would have you. Typical know it all jack** go have a few beers cause that’s probably ALL you have. Lmbo at you

          Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 6:30 pm
          • Pole Cat.
            The two gentlemen I replied to could not make an argument that it was an accident and as tragic as it was for everyone concerned it was an unintentional accident with no evil intent.
            Not being able challenge any part of my statement they were left only being able to call names, you know, like kids did back in grade school.
            They did this while demonstrating they weren’t bright enough to know the difference between your and you’re, with one calling someone a moron. Seems like this should strike anyone as quite funny.
            In your case, you have never been able to show error in any of the positions I’ve taken and are obviously angry about it and feel the need to strike out with that frustration.
            If you can find any error in anything I’ve said on this subject today, or any other subjects I’ve spoken to in the past, please do so.
            If not, please just continue calling names.
            You saying, ” really nothing worthwhile to say…. ” is not the same thing as it being true. Something worthwhile was said you are unable to make an argument against.
            So, like the other gentlemen, you unable to make an argument are reduced to only being able to call names.
            So, my advice is, stick with calling names. It seems to be what you do best.

            Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 7:11 pm
    • Your a @ss this worthless low life dirt bag ? should have gotten life and I hope some inmate will give him the grave he needs to get.

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 3:35 pm
      • The Watcher,

        That should be, ” You’re an @ss. “. Not ” Your a @ss ” But, good work at least capitalizing the first letter of your first sentence.
        Guess I shouldn’t be so critical of those who didn’t have the advantage of having at least a 4th or maybe 5th grade education.

        Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 5:43 pm
        • We got the gist of what he was saying just like we did with your sentence “Intent to kill, or rob, or to do hrm is one thing. This is another.” What does hrm mean?

          Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 6:42 pm
          • Oh no.
            It should be obvious to anyone “hrm” is a misspelling of the word “harm” because the letter “a” didn’t register when typed.
            This isn’t rocket science.
            Just as it is obvious the use of “your” in place of “you’re” indicates those two barely literate name callers didn’t have the first clue as to the difference.
            Perhaps today will help them get over that hurdle.
            But, thank you for bringing it up and allowing me to point it out again.

            Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 2:37 am
          • Weeki Wachee Max it was obvious that you meant harm. I was just pointing out that everyone makes mistakes.

            Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 7:56 am
          • Yes. You were pointing out everyone makes mistakes.
            However, there is a major difference between a typing key stroke that doesn’t register and not having the common knowledge of the differences between your, you’re, and you are. As well as between to, two, and too. Also, to the correct usage of ‘a’ and ‘an’. That along with the person not having that common knowledge everyone should have – calling someone else a moron because he was unable to counter my position with anything other than name calling.
            Thought it worth a reply.
            If you’ll look back you’ll see those three aggressively came at me. Not me at them.
            All I did was make it quite clear who the moron, jack and low life dirt bag actually most probably happened to be.
            My very best regards.

            Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 11:16 am
        • Frost You
          take the to first letters and enjoy your self. Its Jerks like you that should be mowed down. Low life dirt ball.

          TheWatcher

          Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 7:30 pm
          • The Watcher,
            That would be “two” not “to”.
            I think I understand why you don’t call yourself, The Professor.
            Come on, The Watcher. This is like 3rd or 4th grade stuff.
            So far we already know you have a talent for name calling.
            If not your sole talent, might you have TWO perhaps?

            Good night, all.
            I’m going TO bed.

            Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 2:53 am
        • Wow! What a jerk! I want to know when you became perfect! UGH!

          Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 8:35 pm
          • Brenda,
            Far from perfect, but I was able to advance beyond the 4th and 5th grade.
            If you’ll take a moment to go back and look you’ll see it was them who attacked me. Wasn’t me who attacked them.
            They attacked because the position I took made sense, they didn’t want to hear anything other than what they wanted to believe, couldn’t point out the tiniest thing that wasn’t exactly true about what I had said, and were only able to respond at all by calling me names.
            They turned in their order, just like you do at a restaurant, and got from me exactly what they ordered and had coming.
            Go back and take a look for yourself.
            Then you might consider offering me the apology I well deserve from you.

            Thursday, 4 May 2017, 9:50 am
    • How did he unintentionally drive the vehicle ? If you do something and the actions result in a violation of the law, you can be charged and convicted of said statutory violation.. For instance say I was shoplifting and in an effort to escape lose prevention I run and in the process knock you down, you hit your head and end up in the hospital and die as a result. Now I did not mean for that to happen but the courts are not going to look at that and say oh well too bad for you. I will be charged accordingly to the circumstances. Make sense now?

      Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 11:36 am
      • He intentionally drove the vehicle, but his intention was not to do evil.
        If you were shoplifting you were intentionally doing evil and that decision to do evil resulted in someone’s death. Big difference.
        Exactly. You will be charged according to the circumstances.
        Here’s what’s really going on in this case.
        This Perkins fellow had trouble here about 4 years ago and the authorities didn’t step down too hard on him, being his first time, when he was caught thieving and dealing in stolen property. You know, hoping to scare him into reforming as they often do. Then last year some kind of battery and then the accident where he was charged with three counts of driving without a license and killing/hurting people. Did 30 days and apparently went on probation.
        Then the straw that broke the camel’s back occurred when he was on probation and caught being a thief again. A thief. He stole lawn equipment from some poor church. In addition, if the talk on here is true, may be part of a local family who are also not the best of citizens.
        The point here is, if you and I were in that exact same situation and the exact same thing happened when we drove without a license because we forgot and failed to renew it in 6 months, or let our insurance lapse or any of many other things in which that can happen, but we’d been good, law abiding citizens, we would be charged and penalized for driving without one, as we should, and maybe a careless thrown in because of the death and injuries. Some additional penalty. BUT, there would be NO TALK of prison.
        Our society is not into harshly punishing people when tragic accidents happen when there was no evil intent.
        There is not necessarily intent to do evil when someone drives drunk, but when they do they know they are increasing the chances of doing harm to someone and/or their property and there is some evil involved in making that decision.
        There was obviously no evil intent in Perkins’ action that caused the tragedy and it makes it obvious to me the sentence of five years for an accident with no evil intent was not just for that, but for his history.

        Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 2:11 pm
  • NO JUSTICE!!!!

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 12:11 pm
  • I will not vote for this judge next election. I don’t understand what this world became.

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 11:32 am
  • Judge Toner has a reputation for what I call “Dyslexic Justice”. He trounces on the innocent yet escorts criminals to a seat at the Banquet of Injustice…..

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 10:21 am
  • I am completely disgusted in the actions of the judge. This is a slap in the face of that child’s family and to every law abiding citizen of Hernando County. Five years? Really? He probably won’t even serve the full 5 years because of “good behavior” – give me a damn break.

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 9:42 am
  • THE JUDGE SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE BENCH. FORCEFULLY IF NECESSARY. This piece of crap Perkins should never see the light of day again. I wonder if the judge would feel the same if it was his kid..

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 9:20 am
    • EXACTLY!!! Could NOT have said it better…

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 11:09 am
  • These stories hurt me to even read. I can not even begin to express how badly I feel for the families involved.

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 8:17 am
  • A deal shouldn’t have even been an option this is sickening ! I know people who are in jail 4 / 5 years for a petty weed charge . HE KILLED A BABY an innocent 3 year old baby girl !!!!

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 8:06 am
  • Pieces of trash like this just need to stay locked up and out of society and this would’ve never happened that’s the problem the system is so broken beyond repair the idiot will probably be out in two years or less One can only hope karma comes around sooner than later

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 7:52 am
  • It is common knowledge that child murderers do not last long in prison. That is considered an unforgivable crime, even among the hardest of criminals.

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 7:25 am
    • Hope he lands in Mayo

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 11:07 am
  • Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

    God is the ultimate judge and will not let this go unpunished. In the meantime, we are to pray for ALL concerned!

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 7:17 am
  • ABSOLUTELY BS that judge needs to be behind bars his mother worked there the whole family is nothing but drug addicts and thiefs they all need to disappear just like her daughter disappeared from this useless peice of crap hitting them sorry POS oh yeah and his dumb a** girlfriend who was sticking up for him in the beginning

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 6:14 am
    • Yep!! She laughed on camera about him walking free then. At least the b-otch is not laughing now…

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 11:07 am
  • Wow this killer get 5yrs for taking sumbody child life system all mess up toner gave him slap on wrist when he give drug dealer 25yrs and weed sellers almost life sentence this is a racist town if was Blk man he would gt life sorry for your loss baby girl rest in peace he going get his when get prison.

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 6:08 am
  • why is this piece of crap still on the streets? Hangem and than Shootem. CASE CLOSED

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 4:20 am
  • Judge Toner. I will remember that name at the voteing booth i hope you all will also. This is not justice.

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 12:05 am
    • Believe me Merritt Jr is just as bad…

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 11:03 am
  • Every time I hear someone gets a plea deal I think that those involved are afraid of a little work. There should be no deals, no bull, he committed a crime, he killed a child and he should rot in jail. He gets 5 years and will probably be out next year. Pure bull, this is why the justice department doesn’t work

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 11:20 pm
    • I think it is time to break up the good old boy network, VOTE THEM OUT. THE PEOPLE OF HERNANDO LISTEN, WE CAN FIRE THEM, GO AND VOTE. DON’T BE LAZY, GET OUT AND VOTE!

      Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 10:24 am
  • No words except disgusting.

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 10:54 pm
  • This is insane. There is no words to even begin to decribe the hate I feel for this man. How can you take a baby’s life and get a slap on the wrist. If it was that judge kid I bet he would of got more. Don’t worry baby Ava. One day he will have to really pay for what he did. I love you baby Ava. May you rest in peace.???

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 10:54 pm
  • Imagine that and someone with weed gets 4 years whats wrong with this picture shame on you hernando county justice system

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 10:53 pm
    • Yep!! Toner and Merritt Jr both really dole out some back asswards sentences….

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 11:01 am
  • Of course Judge Toner allowed this piece of to walk after 5 years! Maybe they will get lucky and rot in the same spot in HELL one day!!

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 10:00 pm
    • Of course…with Toner EVERYBODY walks, didn’t you know that?? So if you commit a serious crime, just pray that you get him for your Judge, and you’re pretty much home free.

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 10:59 am
  • It does not surprise me cause they let my daughter and grandsons killer go free without ever arresting, detaining or prosecuting him.. Maybe he knows someone who works in the sheriff’s office too like my daughter’s killer – so he got a lenient sentence

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 10:00 pm
    • His mother worked for the Sheriff’s office, and I believe she was let go – years prior to last year. He has been arrested many times for different charges. Per an officer that responded to the accident, he often busted Perkins doing drugs at the end of the road.

      Monday, 1 May 2017, 10:36 pm
      • His mother is in jail waiting trial for bank robbery.

        Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 7:23 am
        • If memory serves me right, I think she robbed a couple banks. She will probably end up with time served and a medal. If she gets Toner. This Perkins clan makes AL Capone look like a choir boy. Once again this poor family has to endure more grief, not that they will ever recover completely from loosing little Ava.

          Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 6:19 pm
    • Who was ur daughter?? If I’m not to rude to ask.

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 2:40 am
  • How was he driving illegally? What made it illegal for him to drive?

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 9:54 pm
    • It was said in the original police report that his license was suspended. Come to find out it was in the process, not yet suspended at time of accident.

      Monday, 1 May 2017, 10:38 pm
    • How can you dare defend an idiot who killed a kid. It doesnt matter! He killed her, almost her siblings, and left mom n dad with a hole in their hearts. Absolutely disgusting.

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 1:17 am
    • It clearly stated in the article he was driving with a suspended license. It’s illegal for a person to drive if their license is suspended. Therefore he was driving illegally.

      Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 12:33 pm
  • 5 years for killing someone he will be out in 3 really judges and State Attorney i cant wait to the next Election we need people that will hold people accountable he killed a 3 year old (WOW)

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 9:49 pm
  • This is really insulting to the family and to law abiding citzens. This judge should be terminated as soon as possible. People schould protest out side his freaking house so he can’t or his family can’t enjoy peace.
    It’s to bad what’s happening to our country.

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 9:07 pm
  • WOW! Small price to pay for a little girl’s life, and so much pain for her family. Rest in Peace, baby girl.

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 8:25 pm
  • This is just a sad excuse for justice for that little angel, she got 3 years of life before the rest was stolen by some jerk behind the wheel that had no business being there, and he only does 5 years?!?!?!? He deserves to be beneath the prison and to have his life stolen as this innocent baby did. Shame Hernando county courts, you should’ve never accepted his plea deal.

    Monday, 1 May 2017, 8:25 pm

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