FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — A Forsyth County man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the killing of a 15-month-old in 2018, according to a news release from the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office.
Jesse Wayne Perkins, 25, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Carolina Rose Dodd.
On Aug. 22, 2018, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and medical personnel responded to a 911 call concerning a child at 4750 Penrose Road, Unit 9, in Pfafftown.
Carolina was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy determined that the cause of death was asphyxia due to smothering.
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 Perkins left the home to go to a convenience store. Upon Carolina’s mother waking up, she checked on Carolina. At that time Carolina was not breathing and was cold to the touch. 911 was called at that time.
Perkins and Carolina’s mother denied involvement in the child’s death. Eventually, Perkins confessed to the murder.
Perkins said Carolina had accidentally walked into a cigarette that he was smoking. Perkins said Carolina was crying and screaming after being burned.
Perkins said he was unsuccessful with all attempts to calm and quiet Carolina. He claimed he snapped and smothered Carolina with a pillow and placed her body in the Pack ‘n Play.
Carolina’s mother did not have any involvement in the child’s death, Perkins said.
The family of Carolina 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. The family decided to allow the defendant to plead guilty to first-degree murder and accept a sentence of life without parole.