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Ex-Georgia Cop Who Staged Wife’s Fatal Shooting As Suicide Gets Life Sentence
“It’s a sad case,” Putnam County District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale III told Oxygen.com.
A former Georgia police officer was sentenced to life behind bars in the killing of his wife, whose death he tried staging as a suicide.
Michael Seth Perrault, 45, was dealt a life sentence without the possibility of parole in the 2020 murder of his wife, Amanda Perrault, 44, according to the Putnam County District Attorney. The ruling was handed down by Chief Judge Brenda H. Trammell on Feb. 25.
He was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assaulted and simple battery, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
Police were dispatched to the couple’s home at 133 Long Island Drive in Eatonton, Georgia on Feb. 3, 2020 after reports of a shooting, according to an incident report obtained by Oxygen.com. Michael Perrault told responding officers that his wife had killed herself.
But around the time of the incident, a sheriff’s deputy had stopped at the couple’s home to serve a court subpoena and wasn't able to make contact with anyone inside.
“The deputy could hear him walking about the house but he never came to the door,” Putnam County District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale III told Oxygen.com on Tuesday. “And 19 minutes later, the chief of police receives a phone call from Perrault saying his wife killed herself.”
Amanda Perrault's body was found in the home’s bedroom; she died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Her death was initially ruled a suicide — but the scene appeared suspicious from the moment investigators descended on the property.
“They found Amanda Perrault in her bed with her arms and legs almost coffin-like — no blood on her arm, no blood on her hand, no blood on her clothes,” Barksdale III told Oxygen.com. “They found a magazine to the pistol by her right hand. They found a firearm with a loaded round in it, about a foot, foot and a half from her left foot. There was just so much about the physical scene that did not add up.”
Michael Seth Perrault denied touching the firearm used in the shooting or his wife’s body.
Under later questioning, Michael Seth Perrault, who accused his dead wife of being a liar, said “none of this would have happened” had she not originally reported him for battery just days earlier.
The death of Amanda Perrault was murder, according to prosecutors, and had been fueled by years of abuse and domestic violence.
“What makes this case different than a lot of other cases is that it was a law enforcement officer, somebody that was supposed to protect people,” Barksdale III told Oxygen.com. “But what was happening and what we discovered was that it was just years and years of domestic abuse on this lady.”
On Jan. 28, 2020, Michael Perrault was arrested for simple battery family violence after police were called to the home. Deputies who responded to that incident reported seeing red marks on Amanda Perrault's chest, and she and the couple's child said that Michael Perrault had shoved his wife and hit her in the face, according to Macon Fox affiliate WGXA. He bonded out the following day.
Prosecutors said that Amanda Perrault told Michael Perrault’s 8-year-old daughter on the night he was arrested that he'd shoot her if he lost custody of his daughter. Michael Perrault had been sharing custody of the child with the girl’s biological mother, Amber Stockdale, at the time, and a conviction for domestic violence might have imperiled that arrangement.
He’d also been in the process of being terminated by the Eatonton Police Department due to the battery arrest, prosecutors said.
But it was also apparently not the first incident of violence between the couple.
“The neighbors around the Perrault home painted a pretty dark picture of violence and abuse,” Barksdale said. “They actually witnessed physical abuse by this guy and Amanda Perrault told one of the neighbors, ‘If y’all find me dead, please tell police that I didn’t kill myself.’”
Photos, video, and text messages further confirmed the abuse — and, prosecutors said, helped secure a conviction from the jury during trial.
The disgraced police officer’s legal team appeared to suggest they’d pursue an appeal in the matter when reached for comment on Tuesday.
“We believe that the jury's verdict was contrary to the overwhelming physical evidence presented at trial that Amanda Perrault committed suicide and are exploring all avenues of post-conviction relief to which Mr. Perrault may avail himself,” Justin T. Kenney told Oxygen.com.
A spokesperson for the police agency at which Perrault had worked didn’t respond to media requests surrounding the case this week.
“Quite frankly, we don’t hear about all the good — men and women in law enforcement doing great things — every day, unfortunately,” Barksdale said. “We hear about the rare exceptions and bad apples in law enforcement. And this guy was a pretty bad dude."
"It's a sad case," he added.