EAST ST. LOUIS - Relatives of two dead women plan to address U.S. District Judge David Herndon at sentencing hearings for drug dealers Deborah Perkins and Douglas Oliver on Dec. 13.

Herndon had set the hearings a week apart, but assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Garrison moved to set them on the same date for the convenience of relatives.

Garrison wrote that “some of those relatives who wish to address the court intend to travel to East St. Louis from outside the bi-state region.”

Herndon granted the motion on Sept. 17.

Perkins and Oliver, mother and son, pleaded guilty in August to charges that they ran a heroin business from their home at 20 Kassing Drive in Fairview Heights.

Perkins stipulated that she bought heroin and supplied it to Oliver for resale.

She implicated Sean McGilvery of Belleville as another distributor.

McGilvery allegedly supplied the heroin that addicted former judge Michael Cook.

McGilvery faces distribution charges, and Cook faces possession charges.

Perkins and Oliver caught the attention of federal prosecutors last year, after 30 year old Jessica Williams and 20 year old Jennifer Herling died from apparent overdoses.

Prosecutors didn’t press charges against Perkins and Oliver in connection with the deaths, but they alleged that death resulted from the drug dealing.

Oliver admits that death resulted from his crimes, subjecting him to a stiffer sentence.

Perkins disputes that death resulted from her crimes, so Herndon must decide if it did.

Garrison’s motion did not identify any relatives who plan to speak, but Herndon likely will hear from Jackie Keel of Collinsville, Herling’s grandmother.

She wrote a letter on March 6 to Cook, who presided over state drug charges against Perkins and Oliver, claiming Oliver intended to silence Herling and Williams.

“We need murder charges on Douglas Oliver and his mother Debra Perkins,” Keel wrote.

“He took these young women’s life. It wasn’t just another overdose.

“He thought he can get by with it because heroin was involved and he called 911 but with all the evidence he did it on purpose.”


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