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Forsyth County man sentenced to life without parole for murdering 15-month-old

An investigation revealed that Jesse Perkins snapped and smothered the child with a pillow and placed her body in a Pack ‘n Play.

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Jesse Wayne Perkins has plead guilty in Forsyth County Superior Court to First Degree Murder, according to the Forsyth County District Attorney's Office. 

On August 22, 2018, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) and medical personnel responded to a 911 call concerning a child in the 4700 block of Penrose Road, Apt. 9 in Pfafftown, NC. 

Once on scene, FCSO deputies and emergency personnel found 15-month-old Carolina Rose Dodd. Carolina was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was asphyxia due to smothering. 

Jesse Perkins, Carolina Dodd, and Carolina’s mother were the sole occupants of the apartment on the date of Carolina’s murder. 

Jesse Perkins admitted that he was alone with Carolina during the morning hours when Carolina’s mother was at work. When Carolina’s mother returned home from work, Carolina was in a Pack ‘n Play and her mother assumed she was sleeping. Carolina’s mother then took a nap prior to going to her second job and Jesse left the residence to go to a convenience store. When Carolina’s mother awoke, she checked on Carolina who was not breathing and was cold to the touch. 911 was then called at that time.

FCSO investigators interviewed Jesse Perkins and Carolina’s mother. Eventually, Jesse Perkins confessed to the murder, a released stated. He claimed that Carolina had accidentally walked into a cigarette that he had been smoking. Perkins indicated that Carolina was crying and screaming as a result and that he was unsuccessful with attempts to calm and quiet her. Perkins said he snapped and smothered Carolina with a pillow and placed her body in the Pack ‘n Play.

The family of Carolina Dodd met with District Attorney Jim O’Neill where the two possible punishments available to the defendant upon a conviction were discussed: Life Without Parole and the Death Penalty. Carolina’s family decided to allow the defendant to plead guilty to 1st Degree Murder and accept a sentence of Life Without Parole.