Livingston, Louisiana: The trial for Cynthia Perkins, now 36, was scheduled to begin on Monday, February 14, where a jury would be allowed to decide her fate on 72 charges which included production of child pornography, rape, sexual battery and mixing harmful substances. She was facing a possible sentence of up to 70 years in prison if convicted.
On Monday, as a part of the plea deal arranged on Friday, February 11, Cynthia changed her plea to guilty on three charges: second-degree rape, production of child pornography, and mingling of harmful substances. In exchange for her plea and her promised testimony against her now ex-husband, Dennis Perkins, the remaining charges against her were dropped.
Dennis and Cynthia were arrested in October 2019. After that arrest Cynthia filed for divorce, which was granted in June 2021.
Dennis had been with the Sheriff's Department since 2002 and had even lead the SWAT unit for a period of time. Cynthia had been a teacher at a middle school with the Livingston Parish Public Schools.
An initial 120 counts filed against the couple, with each facing 60 individually, grew to a total of 150 counts in December after a grand jury filed their indictment.
After Judge Erika Sledge sentenced Cynthia on Monday to 41 years in prison for the charge of second-degree rape, and an additional 30 years for the child pornography charge which is to be served concurrently, Attorney Barry Milligan of the Attorney General's Office issued a statement.
"Today Cynthia Perkins plead guilty to three very serious felony charges so that will enable the family of the juvenile victim to get justice without having to go through a trial."
Due to the plea deal, she will not be able to appeal. 40 of the 41 year sentence will be without the possibility of parole.
Cynthia's attorney, James Spokes, said that the plea deal was "the best possible outcome."
During the Friday hearing, Judge Sledge had initially been asked to consider two motions he had filed- one for a continuance of the case and the second, a request to move the case out of Livingston Parish due to the amount of publicity.
The plea deal was arranged in the following hours with Sledge meeting with attorneys from both sides.
"We weighed all the options and available information and considering the circumstances... we really feel as though this was the best decision," Spokes said concerning the deal. "This is not the kind of case where people are going home happy, but this was the best possible outcome."
Before agreeing to the plea deal, Assistant Attorney General Erica McLellan stated they received approval from the victim's family, "knowing that 40 years is... a pretty long time in prison."
It is not known when Dennis is scheduled to appear in court next.