Local News

Durham Man Gets 112 Years for Crimes Targeted at Hispanics

Posted January 28, 1999

— Five men accused of hundreds of crimes inDurhamare behind bars, and that is where they will stay for a long time. That is great news to the city's Hispanic community which was targeted by the band of criminals.

A 112 year sentence is what a judge gave to a man called a "catalyst" of crimes targeting Durham's Hispanic population. People close to the situation call it a victory for all communities.

Eric Perry is not eligible for parole until the year 2111. As he handed down the stiff sentence, Judge David LaBarre said Perry led a brutal band of pillagers who preyed on helpless victims targeted by nationality.

Investigators say Perry and four others invaded and robbed Hispanic homes, raping one victim as a gun was held to her baby's head.

"I think this is a thing where the citizenship of Durham will benefit once all the communities get together and work together as one," said Nestor Gonzalez of the Hispanic Victim Services.

Gonzales is the Durham Police Department's liaison to the growing Hispanic community.

He says the stiff sentence in the Perry case sends a message to Hispanics. A message that urges them to stop practices that make them a target like keeping all their money at home.

"We have been asking...to have people put their money in the banks. That's being done. Also, one thing the Hispanic community is fearful of is that because of the language barrier, they may not be able to communicate sufficiently with the police, so they weren't reporting crimes. They are now," said Gonzales.

As trust continues to grow among the Hispanic community, the hope is that trust will grow among all of Durham's communities.

"We consider ourselves building bridges between the community and the police and city agencies. We have a long way to go, but this is one heck of a start," said Gonzales.

Perry's alleged accomplices all pleaded guilty. Some of the accomplices testified against him.

They are behind bars but have yet to be sentenced.

Perry now has a new attorney who will appeal the 112 year sentence.

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