News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Oct. 8, 2012
ALLENDALE, S.C. -- Holding back tears, 38-year-old Perry Sullivan of Bowersville, Ga., gave a statement to the courtroom after pleading guilty to 27 charges on Monday.
"I'd just like to apologize to that officer for what I did to him," Sullivan said.
Last year, on Aug. 18, 2011, a Stephens County, Ga., deputy was transporting the 37-year-old prisoner. Sullivan was put in jail for a burglary he allegedly committed back in Georgia, and he was being taken from Colleton County, S.C., back to Stephens County on the bench warrant. They pulled over in Allendale to eat lunch, and shortly thereafter, Sullivan faked a seizure on S.C. 641. He slipped out of his handcuffs, beat the deputy and took the officer's 40-caliber Glock handgun and patrol car.
What followed was an intensive three-day manhunt through multiple counties by hundreds of law enforcement officers and agents.
An Allendale citizen approached Sullivan and the beaten deputy. Sullivan pointed the Glock at the deputy and threatened to shoot if the man didn't leave. The man walked away but grabbed his rifle from the back of his truck and fired two shots at Sullivan as he fled in the patrol car. Both shots missed. One hit the gas tank and the other struck the cage inside the patrol car.
About 150 people worked the manhunt. There were three tracking teams.
Officers from Aiken County, Allendale County, SLED, Jasper County, Hampton County, Fairfax PD, Allendale PD, Estill PD, DNR, Highway Patrol and Colleton County were working to find Sullivan.
Over the three days after the escape, Sullivan threatened others with the weapon and carjacked two more vehicles, too.
"People were petrified. The entire community was on high alert. The entire community was afraid," said Solicitor Duffie Stone of the State of South Carolina 14th Judicial Circuit.
In court on Monday, though, Sullivan said his intentions weren't deadly.
"Like I said, I was just by myself. I didn't know where I was. I didn't want to hurt nobody. The whole time that gun was a weight on me that I didn't want," he said.
Sullivan's family members also addressed Circuit Court Judge J. Ernest Kinard Jr. They say he never fired the gun or hurt anyone after the escape. They say he was a loving man with a kind heart.
"But the people he pointed the gun at certainly didn't know whether that day was going to be their last or not and that's really what we're talking about," Stone said.
On the second day of the escape, Sullivan broke into a nearby home to hopefully find food and change of clothes. He tried to steal a vehicle at on the property, but the battery was dead. He then tried to carjack Gloria Duncan, who was on her way to work, but Duncan sped off unharmed.
"Everywhere you went for those three days was somebody talking about it, and then afterwards, I guess we just let it lie, but it was scary. You never knew where you were going to run into him," she said after the hearing.
On the second night of the escape, Sullivan broke into a peanut farm and stole a truck. He ditched the vehicle as he approached the county line when he noticed a law enforcement checkpoint.
The next morning, Sullivan robbed a convenience store in Sycamore at gunpoint and carjacked a blue Ford Explorer in the parking lot.
As he drove toward the county line, he met off-duty Williston Police Officer Joey Patsourakos, who managed to catch Sullivan almost by accident. Patsourakos was camping with his family at the nearby Broxton Bridge Plantation, where he was also the instructor of a concealed weapons course. That morning he heard over his police scanner that Sullivan had carjacked the Explorer.
Patsourakos was only about 12 miles away.
"I went and got my M4. Went down SC-641 and set up and just basically blocked the road and waited for him to come to me if he was going to come or if he wasn't. I didn't know. But everything worked out the way it did, and he did come that direction, and I was able to get him off the street," Patsourakos said.
Sullivan told Judge Kinard in the hearing that, at that point, he knew his escape was over. He was arrested without incident.
The victims of what Stone calls a crime spree won't have to worry anymore. Kinard sentenced Sullivan to 30 years in prison with no parole. He was eligible for 400 years in jail, but the judge is allowing Sullivan to serve concurrent terms.
"He will be 65, at least, before he's even eligible to be released," Stone said.
Sullivan's lawyer, Stephanie Smart-Gittings, said Sullivan worked as a tattoo artist and is the father of two children. She said that he doesn't have a violent past.
But Stone and Kinard interjected. Both said that even though his past may not be violent, he has previous convictions for multiple DUIs, multiple possessions of marijuana and a theft by taking conviction, too.
Stone said Sullivan has been in trouble practically his whole life.
The 27 charges Sullivan pleaded guilty to Monday are as follows:
- 1 count of escape
- 5 counts of kidnapping
- 3 counts of carjacking/take or attempt a vehicle from person by force without great bodily harm
- 1 count of assault and battery first degree
- 5 counts of weapons/pointing and presenting firearms at a person
- 1 count of burglary first degree
- 2 counts of grand larceny, value $10,000 or more
- 1 count of armed robbery, robbery while armed or allegedly armed with a deadly weapon
- 1 count of weapons/unlawful taking of firearm or weapon from a law enforcement officer
- 5 counts of weapons/Poss. weapon during violent crime, if not also sentenced to life without parole or death
- 1 count of burglary (violent) second degree
- 1 count of malicious injury to tree, house, trespass upon real property, injury value $1,000 or less