City man guilty on six of 7 meth-related charges

Perkins convicted on charges related to meth lab arrest

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A jury found an Altoona man guilty of six of seven charges related to a methamphetamine lab arrest in Juniata.

Closing arguments were presented Friday in the case against Scott Robert Perkins, who was charged with operating a methamphetamine lab, but the jury was undecided on whether Perkins was guilty of that charge.

“That seventh charge, it was a serious felony offense. We are glad the jury saw through all the holes in the evidence for that charge and made it clear they couldn’t convict him on that,” defense attorney Matthew Dombrosky said Friday.

Perkins was found guilty of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, the manufacturing of meth, possession of items to manufacture meth, possession of a controlled substance and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

The state withdrew the charge of operating a meth lab after the jury’s undecided verdict, Dombrosky said.

“That is potentially years more in prison he won’t have to worry about now,” Dombrosky said.

“With regard to the other charges, we will have to see how the sentencing goes,” he said, adding that he believes mistakes that were made in trial would be a basis for appealing some of the charges for which Perkins is to be sentenced on Oct. 16 by President Judge Elizabeth Doyle.

Perkins, 35, lived at 127 N. Fifth Ave., Juniata, with his sister, Misty R. Perkins, and her ex-boyfriend, Philip M. Shultz, who both previously entered guilty pleas to all of the same charges Perkins faced.

All three were arrested April 2, 2014, after police found an assortment of meth-making chemicals at the Fifth Avenue residence.

Shultz is serving a 2.5- to five-year state prison sentence. Misty Perkins has been assigned to the county’s drug treatment court program for three years, to be followed by 10 years’ probation.

Before the jury went into deliberation, Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks summarized the circumstantial evidence and urged the jury to conclude without a doubt that Scott Perkins was a co-conspirator with his sister and Shultz.

Weeks stressed that police found drain cleaner and other ingredients for meth in all rooms of the residence, including Perkin’s bedroom.

“I have no way to know if the drains back up or not. But keep common sense with you as you deliberate. Is he going to store drain cleaner in his bedroom? What about starting fluid? Does that open drains?” he said. “Lithium batteries are a legitimate household item, but why do you have a pipe cutter by them?”

The main piece of evidence Weeks provided was a receipt for pseudoephedrine pills or common cold medicine that he said was purchased by Perkins.

He displayed the empty pill box found by police in the trash along with the receipt that was traced back to Perkins.

“Within two days of purchase, 96 tablets of pseudoephedrine are gone,” he said.

Dombrosky’s closing argument focused on the fact that evidence against Perkins was indirect.

“Just because he bought pills doesn’t mean he used them to make meth,” he said.

“The main takeaway is that the physical evidence of a meth lab found at the residence, if there was a lab, belonged to Philip Shultz,” he said. “It’s unjust to rope in Perkins just because he lived there.”

Dombrosky said investigating officers could not say Scott Perkins manufactured meth and they could not determine when the lab in question was last active.

Investigating officers found meth in Scott Perkins’ pocket when he was arrested, but Dombrosky said that was no evidence that he made it.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.