BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man who shot and killed his cousin’s boyfriend and a 12-year-old girl in California City will continue serving a life sentence after an appeals court upheld his murder convictions.
The 5th District Court of Appeal on Wednesday found no error in the trial court’s decision to impose consecutive sentences for Desmond Perry’s two murder convictions. Nor did it find the trial judge was in error in declining to strike firearm enhancements.
A three-member panel found the case “unusual and tragic” because Perry, 36, had no prior criminal record and drove to California City planning only to help his cousin and her three children leave what may have been an abusive situation.
“However, (Perry) fired multiple rounds from a high-powered rifle at a house, killing two people, one of them a child, and in declining to strike the firearm enhancements, the trial court acted well within the bounds of its broad sentencing discretion,” the appellate court’s ruling says.
Perry arrived July 22, 2018, at an apartment in the 9000 block of Lupine Loop Drive. There had been an argument between his cousin and her boyfriend, and Perry arrived to pick up the cousin and her children, according to court documents.
The boyfriend, Michael Wiggins, 39, confronted Perry at the front door, documents said.
Perry grabbed an AR-15-style rifle from his vehicle and opened fire. One round struck Michael Wiggins in the chest and others penetrated the apartment’s front wall.
One of them hit Trinity Wiggins in the back. She was declared dead at the scene.
“Trinity was not a target and (Perry) was not aware of her presence, but she was struck and killed by one of the bullets that pierced the exterior wall of the house,” according to a summary of the incident contained in the appellate ruling.
Michael Wiggins was flown to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Perry argued self-defense at trial, but the evidence showed he retrieved the rifle before Michael Wiggins armed himself with a BB gun, prosecutors said.
A jury in 2019 convicted Perry of two counts of second-degree murder and shooting at an inhabited dwelling.