Federal authorities have arrested a Carterville woman accused of repeatedly harassing both of Illinois’ U.S. senators over the course of five months.
Jura L. Perkins left more than 200 angry voicemails on the office phones of Democrats Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, police said in an indictment filed in the Southern District of Illinois on Oct. 24.
Perkins was arrested on Oct. 25, district court documents state. A grand jury charged her on Nov. 6 with one count of repeated harassing communications.
The investigation began when, on Memorial Day, staff for Durbin reported to U.S. Capitol Police that Perkins had left a voicemail on the senator’s office phone.
In the voicemail, Perkins said, “Unfortunately the communist is my senator … I’m just so sickened today as we honor the fallen that I have to have a communist piece of (expletive) as a senator. Do not enjoy this day. I would be very happy if you died today actually… Go to hell, communist pig.”
Perkins admitted to Carterville police later that she did make those statements, the indictment states.
On July 27, staff from Duckworth’s office reported that Duckworth had been receiving harassing calls from Perkins as well, the indictment states. In those voicemails, Perkins refers to Duckworth as a “stupid (expletive) from Thailand” and then repeats the phrase “(expletive) you, communist pig.”
Perkins’ phone calls to both senators persisted throughout the summer, including ones that Duckworth’s staff described as “very volatile and racist” in the indictment.
Then, Perkins began trying to enter the senators’ offices in Carbondale, the indictment states. On Aug. 2, Durbin’s staff alerted Duckworth’s staff that Perkins had been to their office the day before and they described her behavior as increasingly erratic.
Both offices tried to deliver cease and desist letters to Perkins after those incidents, but she continued to harass the senators’ with voicemails to their Washington, D.C., Springfield and Chicago offices, the indictment states.
According to the indictment, Carterville police told Perkins on Aug. 22 that she had to stop calling, to which she responded that she would. The next day, however, she called Duckworth’s D.C. office to say she would not stop calling even if the police followed up again.
Perkins’ calls grew increasingly violent through the month of October, the indictment states. In several messages left for Duckworth, Perkins began mentioning the senator’s newborn, saying in one voicemail on Oct. 17, “Kill the communist baby.”
If convicted, Perkins could go to prison for two years, face a fine decided by a judge or both.
Perkins’ first hearing is set for Jan. 3.
Hana Muslic: 618-239-2626, @h_muslic
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December 3, 2018 at 02:20AM