U.S. Attorney’s Office for The Northern District of Ohio Celebrates Funding Announced During Domestic Violence Awareness Month
U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced that a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Chelsea Perkins, 31, of Alexandria, Virginia, with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
According to court documents, on or about March 6, 2021, the defendant is accused of shooting an individual identified in the indictment as M.J.D. (initials used to protect the decedent’s identity) near the Terra Vista Natural Study Area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Court documents state that M.J.D.’s body was taken to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, where it was determined that the manner of death was a gunshot wound to the back of his head. The cause of death was ruled a homicide.
On December 9, the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the arrest of Defendant Chelsea Perkins in connection with the homicide. According to court documents, investigators linked the defendant to the shooting of M.J.D using GPS data, ballistics analysis, and DNA evidence.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.
In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Division; Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification; National Parks Service; and Valley View Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott C. Zarzycki, Margaret A. Kane, and Adam J. Joines.