Convicted murderer Bryce Perkins in court seeking new trial

Convicted murderer Bryce Perkins seeks new trial

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's difficult for the family of 20 year old Daniel Gueringer, shot to death at a 4th of July party in 2009.  His mother, Sandra, says the family suffers hearing details again.

"We know he (Perkins) brought a loaded gun.  We know he aimed it and shot it.  If that had not happened we know we would still have our son today. Our family would still have our son today," she said.

Convicted murderer Bryce Perkins, says the killing was an accident and that he wanted to take the stand to tell his side at trial,  but that his attorney, Tom  Lorenzi advised against it.

Perkins says he thought the decision was up to his attorney.  Brenden Craig from Baton Rouge  now defends Perkins, who is incarcerated at Angola State Penitentiary..

"Mr. Perkins wanted to be able to testify at his initial trial and we feel that unfortunately,  not maliciously in any way, maybe not even on purpose, but we feel that Mr. Perkins' trial counsel, essentially prevented him from doing so," said Craig.

Most defense attorneys do advise clients not to take the stand because then they face rigorous cross examination by the prosecutor.

Lorenzi testified in an earlier hearing that when someone takes the stand against his advice, he makes them sign papers to document it.

Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier says there's no evidence Perkins was prevented or forbidden from testifying by his attorney.

"The defense lawyer could not remember the precise words that he used but told the court, basically, this is what it would have been or exactly how I said it.  But he made it quite clear to the court that he did not stop that defendant from testifying," said DeRosier.

And DeRosier says if Perkins had testified it would not have gone well for him.

"The jury would have recognized very quickly that not only had he lied to the police several times, but that he was lying in the trial," said DeRosier.

But Craig says that's not the issue:

"If they want to testify we can't stop them.  If they don't want to testify, we can't force them. It is their decision plain and simple," said Craig.

The Gueringer family is  pleased Judge Ron Ware denied Perkins' request for a new trial.

"We're very glad that Judge Ware saw that there was no evidence to support their application for post conviction relief," said Sandra Gueringer.

Craig plans to appeal to the Third Circuit Court.

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