Lawyer: Plymouth killing suspect had mental illness history

Updated: 2:11 p.m. | Posted: 9:38 a.m.

A Plymouth man who died after exchanging gunfire with police after allegedly killing his girlfriend had a history of untreated mental illness, his lawyer says.

Attorney Michael Padden said Corey Perry's family asked him to speak on their behalf.

Padden was handling Perry's appeal after he was convicted of carrying a weapon while intoxicated and making terroristic threats in an incident that stemmed from a bar fight in Hopkins in which Perry was defending his brother.

"There was nothing that led up to this. He just apparently snapped," Padden said. "It wasn't like there was a week's worth or a month's worth of issues. It was not like that at all. That's what's really bizarre about this."

Perry had no history of domestic violence against his fiancée, Trisha Nelson, Padden said in interviews Sunday. Nelson and Perry were 28 and died Friday night. Investigators have not officially released the names of the victim and suspect, but Padden and Perry's family did.

However, Nelson's older sister, Tanya Fure, said there were some red flags. Nelson had an on-again-off-again relationship with Perry for about six years, she said.

"There were little signs that it was not a healthy relationship for either of them," Fure said. "It was her having to ask for permission for little things. And her not being able to do things out of fear of making him angry."

Officials with the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women say Nelson is the second domestic homicide in the state so far this year.

Perry allegedly shot at Nelson and ran her down at a busy intersection in the Minneapolis suburb of Plymouth. Police confronted him at the nearby apartment building where they lived after getting a 911 call about a man with a long gun in the garage. After an exchange of gunfire, the officers found Perry dead. Investigators have not said whether the officers killed Perry or he killed himself.

Padden said family members believe Perry would have been suicidal after committing such a violent act. And he said it's likely Perry wanted to die from "suicide by cop."

Two of the three officers involved were injured and spent the night in a hospital but were released and remain on administrative leave.

Padden said Perry had been out drinking Friday night when he got into an argument with a valet and became fearful of getting in trouble again. He said Perry became agitated and called Nelson to come pick him up.

"He had a perception the police were after him because getting in a fight and consuming alcohol would be a violation of his probation," Padden told WCCO-TV.

Oral arguments in Perry's appeal were set for later this month, Padden said.

Perry's sister, Lauren Perry, told KSTP-TV that the stress over the appeal made her brother's untreated mental health issues worse. "He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome," she said.

But Padden said he didn't know why Corey Perry would have harmed Nelson. "They had a close bond. They were inseparable," he said.

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