An attorney for suspected Southern Brooklyn serial killer Salvatore Perrone began laying the groundwork for an insanity defense yesterday, telling reporters that the man who claims he gunned down three borough merchants under orders from a foreign intelligence agency “does seem as though he has mental health issues.”
Public defender Ken Jones used those words to describe Perrone after his client was arraigned on three counts of murder and ordered held without bail in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Thursday — the 64-year-old’s birthday.
Jones told the New York Times that Perrone is denying killing anyone and refuting allegations that he made incriminating statements about the murders of Mohammed Gebeli at Valentino Fashion on Fifth Avenue near 77th Street on July 6, Isaac Kadare inside Amazing 99-Cent and Up Deals near the corner of 86th Street and 20th Avenue on Aug. 2, and Vahidipour Rahmatollah at She She Inc. on Flatbush Avenue last week.
But police sources told DNAinfo.com that investigators charged Perrone after the clothing salesman allegedly admitted to killing the three shopkeepers under orders from an Italian spy agency — comments that bolster Jones’s argument that Perrone may not have a grip on reality.
Yet Perrone cannot escape the amount of evidence police recovered: Detectives found a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle from Perrone’s girlfriend’s home that’s been matched to bullets fired at all three murders — a weapon that was found inside a duffel bag that he had been filmed carrying near the third crime scene.
Cops nabbed Perrone — who investigators called “John Doe Duffel Bag” for most of the week — in Bay Ridge on Tuesday evening. Police sources say Perrone was known to frequent the neighborhood.
“We’d been looking for him for two days,” a police source told Brooklyn Daily. “Detectives narrowed down a few places where this guy had been seen before and sure enough he shows up.”
Investigators interrogated Perrone at the 68th Precinct for hours before transferring him to Patrol Borough Brooklyn South headquarters in East Flatbush for more questions. He was ultimately charged late Wednesday afternoon.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said it was only a matter of time before Perrone would strike again.
“He went to other locations and asked questions that indicated he may have been planning to come back,” Kelly said in a news conference. “It’s reasonable to assume he was going to continue doing this.”
The search for the Southern Brooklyn shopkeeper killer, who vanished after gunning down two merchants over the summer, heated up on Nov. 16 after Rahmatollah was found murdered inside his shop near Linden Boulevard at 7:17 pm.
Investigators quickly learned that the .22 caliber weapon used to kill the 78-year-old had also been used to murder Kadare and Gebeli.
Police sources say that Rahmatollah had been shot behind the counter, dragged about 10 feet and covered up with items from the store — the same way that both of the previous victims had been found.
Reach Deputy Editor Thomas Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-2525.