U.S. District Judge David Herndon cut the sentences of drug dealing mother Deborah Perkins and son Douglas Oliver by more than 10 years, setting them up for release on the same day in 2026.

Herndon signed and sealed orders for them in January, leaving no record except new release dates on the website of the federal prison bureau.

 

Perkins openly sold heroin at her home, and she employed Oliver and two others to sell it to customers including former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook.

The house Perkins' owned at 20 Kassing Drive in Fairview Heights was torn down nearly two years ago.

For the 12 years Perkins and Oliver occupied it, Fairview Heights police handled 66 calls to the home, but not a single visit resulted in the filing of a drug charge against either of them until 2013.

Perkins bought heroin in Chicago and sold it through Oliver and two other distributors to customers including Cook.

 

Perkins and Oliver pleaded guilty in 2013, to charges that they possessed heroin, intended to distribute it, and maintained a drug involved premises.

 

Herndon sentenced Perkins for 27 years. Herndon sentenced Oliver for 30 years, despite his lesser role in the business, because his conduct caused a death in the home.

The other distributors, Sean McGilvery and Eric Beckley, had previously obtained orders cutting their sentences by about half.

 

District Judge Michael Reagan originally imposed 10 years on Cook’s supplier, Sean McGilvery, but the prison bureau plans to release him this September.

 

Herndon originally imposed 11 years on Beckley, but the prison bureau plans to release him in February 2019.

 

Cook also pleaded guilty, to misdemeanor charges that he possessed heroin and used it while possessing firearms.

 

He and former U.S. attorney Stephen Wigginton agreed on 18 months, but Senior Judge Joe McDade of Peoria rejected the agreement.

 

He imposed two years, for the harm Cook caused to public faith in the judiciary. Cook was released in February 2016.    

 

Other sentences in public corruption cases that were reduced include that of former St. Clair County probation officer James Fogarty, cocaine dealer for the late judge Joe Christ. Fogarty's was dropped from 60 months to 30. He’s free.

Christ’s cocaine overdose death at a Cook family-owned hunting lodge in Pike County in March 2013 precipitated the investigation that led to charges against Cook.

Fogarty avoided a longer sentence at the time he pleaded guilty, by successfully denying that he supplied the cocaine that killed Christ.

Former East St. Louis detective Orlando Ward, who was sentenced in 2013 for taking $5,000 to guide a drug shipment through his city, had his sentence cut by Reagan from five years to three and a half. He was released last October.

Sentences for smugglers Martez Moore, Antwone Johnson and Brian Matthews, who were involved in the Ward ring, were cut in half after Reagan signed and sealed orders.

The sentence of former Madison County treasurer Fred Bathon dropped from 30 months to 15 months. He’s free.

He admitted he rigged bids on delinquent taxes at auctions from 2005 to 2009.

Federal law allows a sentence reduction for a prisoner who provides information against a suspect, if the information results in charges against the suspect.

If any information came from Ward, Moore, Johnson, Matthews, McGilvery, Fogarty, or Bathon, it hasn’t resulted in any charges.

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