Details come out after man sentenced in stabbing death from 2010

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — A Salisbury man will spend at least 13 years in prison for the May 2010 stabbing death of Timothy Alan Perkins.
Aaron Anderson Wilks, 55, was sentenced Friday in Rowan Superior Court after accepting an Alford plea for his role in Perkins’ death. He spent nearly two years in the Rowan County jail awaiting a trial.
An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain his innocence while acknowledging prosecutors have sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.
Perkins, 49, was stabbed 14 times, according to the medical examiner’s report. Some of the wounds were superficial, but some were significant, Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook said in court.
Wilks pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, possession of cocaine — a 2009 charge — and being a habitual felon.
The stabbing incident occurred at a Craige Street boarding house, where Wilks and his girlfriend, Tina Morton, rented a room.
The two had an argument, and Morton asked Wilks to leave. She then asked Timothy Perkins to come over. Perkins went to the home and stayed the night.
When Wilks returned, he claimed he was attacked by Perkins and defended himself, his attorney James Randolph said.
As the two men fought, Morton jumped out of a window and received minor injuries.
According to statements in court, Morton had an on-and-off relationship with Perkins.
Perkins later died at Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Wilks will spend a minimum of 13 years to a maximum of 17 years in prison.
The sentences were consolidated.
Wilks could have received a total of about 37 years in prison.
Randolph said he and his client had met many times to discussed the case.
The Salisbury attorney told the court his client was barely a habitual felon. Wilks has some earlier convictions from the early 1990s, including larceny, breaking and entering, and drug possession.
His client has a history of alcohol and drugs, Randolph said, but no prior violent offenses.
In the cocaine case, Randolph said Wilks was a passenger in a car that was stopped by authorities. Officers found less than a gram of cocaine in a car where Wilks was a front-seat passenger.
He’d obtained a ride and had only been in the car for a few minutes, Randolph said.
The attorney said his client was just trying to return home the night of the stabbing and never expected another man to be in his room.
According to Randolph, when Wilks walked into the room, he was attacked.
Perkins was the stronger person, Randolph said.
Had this case gone to trial, Randolph said his client would have asserted self-defense.
Cook said the cocaine possession stemmed from an October 2009 incident when Wilks was a passenger in a car and appeared nervous and fidgety, an officer noted at the time. The officer found a crack pipe and a push rod on the passenger’s side of the car. A push rod is used to clean and “pack” drugs into a crack pipe.
Wilks was on pre-trial release when the stabbing occurred, Cook said.
Perkins’ brother, Tony Perkins, spoke briefly in court. He addressed his comments to Wilks, saying his brother’s death probably wouldn’t have hurt as bad if it hadn’t been at the hands of someone they knew.
“You took my best friend,” Tony Perkins said.
He admitted to being angry. Perkins said he’s been angry since the day he found out about his brother’s death.
“I just wanted you to see me,” he said.
Tony Perkins said when he found out about his brother’s death, he was overcome with such emotion that he “fell out into the floor.”
Perkins said he didn’t expect to speak during the hearing.
Wilks, reading from a handwritten statement, said he wanted to apologize to God, the Perkins family and the court.
He asked for mercy and forgiveness. “I didn’t mean it,” Wilks said.
Perkins’ mother, Dorothy Perkins, did not speak. She left the courtroom at the close of the hearing visibly upset.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.