ST. GEORGE — The last defendant involved in the kidnapping and murder of David Heisler pleaded guilty Monday in federal court.
Kelley Marie Perry, 34, of Santa Clara, pleaded guilty to a federal felony count of a kidnapping resulting in death as a part of a plea deal. She is facing up to 35 years in federal prison and will have associated cases in Washington County and Arizona dismissed.
Perry, along with co-defendants Tammy Freeman and Francis McCard, kidnapped Heisler from his Santa Clara home in June 2016 and left him in the Arizona desert near Mount Trumble where his remains were found nearly two months later.
According to court records, Perry was Heisler’s former girlfriend and the mother of Heisler’s daughter who was 6 years old at the time of the kidnapping. Heisler had been awarded full custody of his daughter two weeks prior to the incident.
Perry, along with McCard and Freeman, went to Heisler’s home with an intent to “scare” him after he received sole custody of his daughter.
Police investigators testified that McCard and Perry both admitted to tying up Heisler, assaulting him in his home, placing a pillowcase over his head and forcing him into the backseat of his car.
McCard told investigators he drove Heisler to a remote area on the Arizona Strip and left him alive standing next to a tree about 4.1 miles up BLM Road 105 – approximately 40 miles away from home.
Authorities searched the area, locating zip ties, a pair of sunglasses and a pillowcase, among other items. However, authorities found no sign of Heisler.
In the hours after the kidnapping, McCard, Perry and Freeman gambled in Mesquite with money stolen from Heisler’s home. Based on surveillance footage, Perry and Freeman also allegedly helped McCard disguise his appearance by shaving his head in a bathroom at the Virgin River Casino after ditching Heisler’s car in Beaver Dam, Arizona.
Heisler’s body was eventually found in mid-August by a Bureau of Land Management geologist.
Perry is scheduled for sentencing June 4.
On the Facebook group “Justice and Memory for/of David Heisler,” his family released a statement Sunday concerning Perry’s plea deal.
“It’s not what everyone wants, but it’s what is best for one individual and she’s all that matters in our lives,” the posts states, referring to Heisler’s daughter. “She’s 9, she’s amazing and she is fully aware of what this means for her life as we actively included her in our decisions over the past couple of weeks.”
Once Perry is sentenced, the Heisler’s family stated they could begin a new life and thanked all those who had supported them.
“We are at peace for this decision,” the posts states. “Please keep us, yet again in your prayers.”
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