Steve Korris Aug. 2, 2013, 7:39am

EAST ST. LOUIS – Heroin dealer Deborah Perkins pleaded guilty on Aug. 1, but her plea agreement fails to answer the question of whether her business resulted in death.

Perkins and prosecutors will leave it to U.S. District Judge David Herndon to decide.

Herndon will impose a stiffer sentence if he finds death resulted from her actions.

She faces a long stretch in any event, at least 20 years and as many as 27.

Last year, 30-year-old Jessica Williams and 20-year-old Jennifer Herling died in Perkins’s house.

The deaths prompted U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton to open an investigation of drug traffic in St. Clair County.

Police learned that Perkins traveled to Chicago on Jan. 18, and would return with heroin on Jan. 21.

When she returned, police followed her to the home of Eric Beckley in Centreville.

Then they followed her to her own home, at 20 Kassing Drive in Fairview Heights.

They seized 25 grams of heroin at her house and 50 grams at Beckley’s.

Grand jurors indicted Perkins, her son Douglas Oliver, and Beckley in February.

In May, agents arrested Sean McGilvery of Belleville as an associate of Perkins and Oliver.

Agents also arrested circuit judge Michael Cook, at McGilvery’s home.

Grand jurors returned indictments charging McGilvery with distribution of heroin and Cook with possession.

In June, Perkins and Oliver moved to continue their trial so they could negotiate pleas.

Oliver and prosecutors hadn’t reached agreement as of Aug. 1.

The agreement between Perkins and prosecutors doesn’t quite count as an agreement.

It reads, “Defendant does not agree that ‘death resulting’ was reasonably foreseeable to her, and defendant may wish to contest this issue at defendant’s sentencing hearing.”

The agreement enhances her sentence for a prior felony drug conviction, but it provides her with three levels of relief for accepting responsibility.

It states that her crimes involved one to three kilograms of heroin, or 2.2 to 6.6 pounds.

It states that she forfeits her home.

A stipulation with the agreement states that she sold heroin from her house since 2004.

It states that she purchased heroin in Chicago since 2008.

“Defendant and Sean McGilvery made many trips to Chicago to purchase heroin from defendant’s sources,” it states.

“Typically, defendant pooled her money with Sean McGilvery, Eric Beckley and others and purchased 25 grams to 100 grams of heroin on each trip,” it states.

The stipulation also states that heroin was stored for resale at McGilvery’s home from 2008 to 2011.

It states that McGilvery gave Perkins money every two weeks for heroin. The amount varied but was typically between $2,500 and $5,000.

It states that she provided heroin to Oliver, Beckley, McGilvery, and others for resale.

Beckley and McGilvery pleaded not guilty, and they await trial.

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