Washington County man accused of killing Eugene Hillemann still awaits trial date
A Washington County man accused of killing Eugene Hillemann in January of 2010 is still waiting for a trial date.
Jimmie Perko’s four-day trial had been scheduled for the end of November before Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte but it was continued in October due to the change-over and potential conflict in the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. This was the second time it was continued.
Perko, 49, of Potosi, has been in custody on charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful discharge of a weapon since January of 2010.
“We have been ready for trial for over a year,” Perko’s attorney, John Rogers said in October when he was arguing against the Missouri Attorney General’s motion for continuance from the November date. Perko has said he is innocent.
Rogers filed a request for a speedy trial. As a result, Pratte, who would have had to set a four-day trial at least a year out due to his busy court dockets, decided to ask the Missouri Supreme Court to appoint a new judge — such as senior judge with a smaller caseload.
Judge John Max Price was assigned the case Oct. 18 and scheduled the trial for March 26-30. However, it turned out a St. Francois County courtroom wasn’t available on March 30.
Price then recused himself from the case and the case has been assigned to Judge Gael Wood. A trial date has not yet been set.
According to the probable cause statement written by Lt. Todd Mahaney of the sheriff’s department, Perko discharged a firearm with the intent of injuring or killing Hillemann.
“Perko fired the gun from the exterior of Hillemann’s residence,” Mahaney said in the statement. “The bullet struck Hillemann in the upper torso, causing injuries that resulted in Hillemann’s death. The information was received after interviewing a witness.”
Perko’s live-in girlfriend saw Hillemann exit the front door of the residence and heard a single gun shot. Hillemann, immediately clutched his torso, turned toward the door and collapsed inside the front door.
She alleges just before that, she saw Perko standing across the road from the residence holding a rifle. She said she saw Perko walk away after the shooting.
The girlfriend said she didn’t know what to do because she didn’t have a cell phone signal. She said she drove to a couple’s home where she told them the man had been shot. They went back to Hillemann’s trailer to check on Hillemann, then went to a nearby store to call 911.
When police arrived, the girlfriend initially lied and said she was at Perko’s home to see if he could work on her car. Associating with Perko was a violation of her probation/parole because he was also a convicted felon. She has convictions for passing a bad check and endangering the welfare of a child. According to Case.net, Hillemann had a conviction for felony driving while revoked.
While police were still at the crime scene, Perko returned and was taken into custody.
More than 30 people showed up to Perko’s preliminary hearing in 2010 to show support to him. Several people were also at the hearing in October.