Perry’s Roommate Talks, Cops Still Mum, Mystery Deepens
Nine days after comics and animation writer Steve Perry was reported missing and a week after a severed arm was found near his bloody van, the Zephyrhills Florida police are still keeping a tight lid on the the case calling it a “possible homicide”. But one of Perry’s ex-roommates, James Davis, is talking to reporters from jail where he and his wife are being held on unrelated charges. Davis is claiming Perry was addicted to oxycontin. He also says he has an alibi.
The St. Petersburg Times is reporting:
Davis, 45, said he and wife Roxanne, 49, moved into Perry’s place on Eighth Avenue around Christmas, offering to pay $250 a month and split the bills. Perry lived alone, though his young son sometimes visited, at a home granted to him through family of his ex-girlfriend.
“I liked him at first,” Davis said. “But he was hooked on drugs, bad. That’s the reason he let me in.”
Davis said he and Perry shared a crippling addiction to oxycodone. Davis doctor-shopped for prescriptions to supply his daily seven-pill habit, he said, but Perry took up to 40 pills a day.
To fund his $300-a-day habit, Perry scammed shoppers on eBay by taking payments without shipping items, according to Davis. Perry also asked for “sympathy money” from friends and fans of his work, said Davis, who questioned whether Perry had cancer.
“Everything about Steve was hustling money to make sure he had the next drug,” Davis said. “He was a good person when he had drugs and an a–hole when he didn’t.”
As he was returning home May 14 — two days before the discovery of Perry’s van — Davis said he saw police stationed outside. Davis, who has served three stints in prison for robbery and kidnapping, said he feared he would be arrested for failing to appear in court on a charge he drove without a license.
Davis said he called Perry to ask what had happened, only to receive a text message thanking him for keeping an eye on the house. Davis said Perry “said he was going somewhere” and didn’t answer later calls.
For the next week, Davis said, he stayed with relatives in Wesley Chapel or at the Ridge Manor Motel in Dade City.
Officers found him Friday at his daughter’s home and arrested him on the warrant and drug charges. Roxanne Davis turned herself into a sheriff’s substation in Dade City on a probation violation later that night.
Davis’ uncle, Jerry Keen, vouched for his stay in Wesley Chapel and said he couldn’t be involved in any possible murder.
Perry’s ex-wife confirmed Perry’s use of painkillers but friends dispute the implication that the writer was scamming those who offered financial assistance:
Steve Bissette, a close friend of Perry’s since they attended Johnson State College in 1974, said Perry had a cancerous tumor removed during surgery in March 2009. Perry had filled prescriptions for oxycodone and methadone, said Krystal Carroll, his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his son, although she didn’t know how much he took.
In July, after losing his job, Perry moved to Indianapolis with a friend and went “cold turkey” from the painkillers, according to Bissette.
“This was not a scam,” Bissette wrote in an e-mail. Perry updated Bissette often on his weakening health and finances, and Bissette wrote a blog post about his condition and handled donations. “He was in constant threat … due to loss of electricity, inability to provide shelter, etc; the comics community responded.”