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Notorious Montgomery killer dies behind bars

Convicted contract killer James Edward Perry, serving life in prison for one of the Washington area's most shocking crimes in the 1990s, died of an illness Wednesday at age 61, a Maryland corrections official said.

Montgomery County authorities said Perry purchased and studied a how-to book titled "Hit Man." Then on March 3, 1993, he followed the manual almost to the letter in killing Mildred Horn, 43; her 8-year-old quadriplegic son, Trevor Horn; and the boy's visiting nurse, Janice Roberts Saunders, 38, in the Horns' Silver Spring home, evidence showed.

Trevor’s father, Lawrence T. Horn, a former Motown records producer, was convicted of hiring Perry to commit the murders in a scheme to gain control of Trevor’s $1.8 million trust fund, the result of a hospital malpractice settlement.

Perry, a former street minister from Detroit, recently had been housed in a medical facility at Maryland’s Jessup Correctional Institution, suffering from a terminal illness, said Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the prison system.

In an e-mail Thursday, Vernarelli said he could not be specific about Perry’s affliction. He said Perry was taken to Laurel Regional Hospital about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and pronounced dead there early Wednesday morning.

Perry, who initially was sentenced to death in the case, shot Mildred Horn and Saunders and suffocated the bed-ridden, severely retarded Trevor by dislodging an air tube that aided his breathing.

After the original conviction in 1995 was overturned by an appeals court, Perry was found guilty in a second trial in 2001 and sentenced to three life terms without parole.

Lawrence Horn, now 69, who was estranged from his family and living in Hollywood at the time the murder-for-hire plot was hatched, also was sentenced to three life terms. He remains behind bars.

-- Paul Duggan

By Washington Post editors  |  December 31, 2009; 3:24 PM ET
Categories:  Montgomery , Paul Duggan , Prison Beat  
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Good to hear. I hope that it was something that made him suffer to the end. Too bad a fellow inmate didn't stick a knife between his shoulder blades.

Posted by: MKadyman | December 31, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

One down, one to go.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | December 31, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, you don't mess with God's children and don't expect him to judge you again only God can Judge people fell to realize that, what this man did was tear a family apart and for what GREED and he is using what part of it now none, MONEY is the root of all evil people cannot think straight. I pray for his soul.

Posted by: JACZY1 | December 31, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

How many hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars were spent to house, feed and medicate this man? Why---when the ultimate result was death anyway?

Like his employer, he should have been executed promptly after his initial conviction. Unfortunately, the state of Maryland is no longer competent at the administration of justice.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | December 31, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Rest in Peace -

Mildred Horn
Trevor Horn
Janice Saunders

Posted by: RedBird27 | December 31, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, why doesn't Maryland indulge in state-sponsored killing of prisoners?

After all, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are GREAT examples to follow.

Posted by: web_user | December 31, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Finally there is one bit of justice for the victims and their families in this case, though I have to say that the State of Maryland did everything they could to thwart it.

Unfortunately he probably lived the high-life in prison. At one time I know he had a web site, emails and girlfriends. And all the while the people of Maryland were still paying for appeals.

Posted by: calvinlucy | January 2, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I knew the family in this case, I only regret that he can't be bought back and killed in the same fashion they were killed. As for the father...times 10 for you you piece of shyt.

Posted by: Gooddad | January 4, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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