In roughly two-and-a-half hours, the jury in the Seth Perrault murder trial returned a guilty verdict on all four counts Friday, concluding the trial in less than five full days at Putnam County Superior Court.
Perrault is guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault family violence and simple battery family violence. The first three charges were in connection with the shooting death of his wife Amanda Perrault at their Long Island Drive home Feb. 3, 2020. The simple battery charge against the former Eatonton Police officer was made Jan. 28, 2020, also at their home.
Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Brenda Trammell, minutes following the verdict, sentenced Perrault to life without the possibility of parole for malice murder and 12 months for the simple battery charge, the sentences to run concurrently.
Throughout the trial, the jury heard about incidents of alleged abuse towards Amanda by Seth.
“We had somebody we thought was one of the good guys,” said Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale prior to the sentencing. “We learned he was no law enforcement.
Defense attorney Bethany Lavigno asked for a sentence of life with the possibility of parole due to Seth Perrault not having any prior criminal history.
The jury began deliberations after noon.
Closing statements were made Friday morning, beginning with Justin Kenny representing the defense. It was the defense’s contention that Amanda committed suicide, and in fact the GBI medical examiner Dr. Lora Darrisaw ruled the manner of death a suicide after her autopsy.
He said it was a long week for all and everyone there learned intimate details of the Perraults. He said the state was painting an unfavorable picture of Seth and made mention of how they were being cut off financially by Seth’s parents.
Seth’s mother Ina Perrault was a defense witness Thursday, and she testified about sending a message to them about stopping their financial support and that they took a car away.
Kenny, during the closing, said Amanda was given every opportunity to leave and was even in Oregon but came back for the sake of Seth’s daughter, her stepdaughter.
“She was at the end of her rope,” said Kenny, suggesting this was a cry for help.
He added how there were no signs of a struggle at the death scene and that the scenario the state presented didn’t make sense.
Barksdale gave the state’s closing remarks, restating words Seth Perrault reportedly said when he was arrested Jan. 28, 2020: “I got you now.” Barksdale said there was motive in that Seth was in jeopardy of losing everything from his job to his child if Amanda would not retract her original statements about the simple battery charge. He reminded the jury of the location of items on the bed, contending there was an effort to alter the scene.
Photographic evidence showed the gun, a Smith & Wesson 380 Bodyguard, at Amanda Perrault’s feet and a magazine that fit that gun was close to her side.
Barksdale also brought up the evidence that showed Amanda was looking at other residences the day before her death and that her last cell phone call was to the Georgia EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) line.