Friend held in shooting death of St. Petersburg woman he was helping

ST. PETERSBURG — Tammy Lynn Harvill wanted a new life. But all she wanted Monday evening was a ride.

Harvill was putting her life back together, according to her brother. She also wanted to stop hitching rides from family and friends. Perry C. Perkins was helping his friend and roommate get her life back. But he didn't want to give her a ride. He just wanted to go to sleep, according to Pinellas sheriff's deputies.

The two argued. Perkins went to his bedroom and closed the door. But Harvill wasn't done arguing. She knocked on his door.

That's when Perkins pulled his 9mm semi-automatic pistol out of his night stand, opened the door and shot his roommate once in the chest, deputies said.

Harvill, 39, was mortally wounded. The mother of one was taken to a local hospital but later died there.

Perkins, 67, didn't try to flee. He was still there when a report of the gunshot brought deputies and paramedics to his home at 6592 Mango Ave. S near South Pasadena, authorities said. The shooting was reported at 5:20 p.m. Monday but it was unclear who reported it.

Deputies said they read him his rights, he told them what he had done, and they arrested him a charge of second-degree murder.

Perkins shot the victim "to try and make her leave him alone so that he could take a nap," according to a sheriff's arrest report.

He had been drinking at the time of the shooting, the report said.

"We've never seen that side of the man," said the victim's brother, Gary Harvill, 38, of Brandon.

Perkins was helping Tammy Harvill through a rough patch of arrests, her brother said, including DUI and driving with a suspended or revoked license. Perkins also let her stay with him.

"He's been helping Tammy out for a long time," said Gary Harvill.

Tammy Harvill decided about a year ago to piece her life back together after completing her probation, her brother said.

"She was real excited that it was coming to an end," he said.

Instead, she leaves behind three brothers, two sisters and a 20-year-old daughter who lives in Brandon, he said.

Gary Harvill said he doesn't think his sister and Perkins were romantically involved. She always emphatically denied it, the brother said.

Perkins was booked into the Pinellas County jail after midnight Tuesday. He is being held without bond.

According to records, he was arrested in 2002 on charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana. The charges were later dropped after he completed a pre-trial diversion program.

Gary Harvill said Perkins considered Tammy Harvill part of his family. He even drove her to Brandon for her father's funeral two years ago.

"When he realizes what he did," Gary Harvill said, "I'm sure it will devastate him too."

Friend held in shooting death of St. Petersburg woman he was helping 07/06/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 8:41pm]

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