Metro-East News

Mom charged in death of Dupo 4-year-old; ‘Princess’ was ‘vivacious’

Dupo mom charged in daughter's murder rants about demon

Mary Lockett, 36, of Dupo, was being transferred to a courtroom when she yelled and cursed at a BND photographer. She's charged with first degree murder in the suffocation death of her 4-year-old daughter, Emily Rose Perrin, who suffered from cyst
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Mary Lockett, 36, of Dupo, was being transferred to a courtroom when she yelled and cursed at a BND photographer. She's charged with first degree murder in the suffocation death of her 4-year-old daughter, Emily Rose Perrin, who suffered from cyst

Mary B. Lockett, of Dupo, stood Tuesday before a St. Clair County judge, who read the charge against her: first-degree murder of her 4-year-old daughter, Emily Rose Perrin.

The girl, described by a family friend as a “vivacious” child who liked pretending to be a princess, died Sunday at her home in Dupo. Her fifth birthday would have been Monday. She was suffocated, the charges allege.

Circuit Judge Robert Haida set bail at $1 million for Lockett, who proclaimed her innocence to family members and cursed at a news photographer.

Lockett told the judge her water and electricity were turned off and they were starving for a week.

“… And nobody cared,” she said.

She then told Haida that she shouldn’t be held in the St. Clair County Jail.

“The jail is not capable of providing care for me,” Lockett said.

Haida entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf and ordered an attorney be appointed for her.

Lockett, 36, collapsed and sobbed as she exited the courtroom. Two bailiffs lifted her to her feet and helped her out.

Before her arraignment on the murder charges, Lockett also appeared in juvenile court concerning the custody of Emily’s brother. As she entered the courtroom escorted by a bailiff, she looked at family members and said, “Please, believe me. I did not do this.”

She also cursed and lunged at a News-Democrat photographer.

“I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ,” she told the photographer. She called the photographer “demon spawn.”

Donald Carpenter, Lockett’s cousin, said in an interview Tuesday that Lockett struggled with mental health issues.

Carpenter said Emily was a typical little girl, who liked to play with dolls.

“She loved to be the princess,” Carpenter said. “She was an awesome little girl.”

“It’s a sad, sad thing,” Carpenter said. “She was family. My blood. This is just breaking my heart.”

Assistant Public Defender Alex Enyart on Tuesday requested a fitness evaluation for Lockett. Chief Judge John Baricevic approved the request.

On Monday, Dupo Police Chief Doug Keys released a press release stating police were investigating the suspicious death of a 4-year-old girl.

GUEST BOOK: Emily Rose Perrin

Locket was being held Tuesday at the St. Clair County Jail. Her bail was set at $1 million..

Dupo Police were called to a home at 105 N. Ninth St. in Dupo about 2:28 p.m. on Sunday for a report of a girl unconscious and not breathing.

The child later died at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Louis.

A memorial filled with flowers and balloons is forming outside the home of a 4-year-old Dupo girl who died Sunday. Her mother, Mary Lockett, was charged with murder Tuesday in the girl's death.

Keys called the circumstances police saw at the scene “suspicious.” The Illinois State Police and Southern Illinois Child Death Investigation Task Force were called in to assist Dupo Police.

Emily Perrin was born April 11, 2011. She liked to dress up as a princess, said Steve Smith, a longtime family friend. In fact, Smith said, she liked to be called “Princess.”

Emily battled cystic fibrosis, a disease that damages the lungs and digestive system and required daily treatment.

“She was a fighter,” Smith said. “She didn’t let it keep her from being a very active, vivacious child.”

Smith knew the family through church at First Assembly of God in Belleville.

Smith called the news of Emily’s death “shocking and traumatic.”

Lockett had five children, Smith said. Emily was the youngest.

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services spokeswoman Veronica Resa said Tuesday afternoon that the agency had been providing services to the family since June of 2015. DCFS got involved with the family after an allegation of neglect, Resa said. There was never an allegation, Resa said, that Lockett had been violent with her children. One of Emily’s siblings was placed with the relative after the juvenile hearing, Resa said, under DCFS supervision.

Associate Judge Walter Brandon did not allow a reporter access to the hearing in juvenile court.

Under Illinois law, juvenile hearings are open to the press, according to Illinois Press Association attorney Don Craven.

“The Illinois Juvenile Court Act specifically allows the news media to attend juvenile court hearings. The general public is excluded, but the statute expressly contemplates that the news media will be allowed to attend. There are limited circumstances in which the court can prohibit the publication of the name of a juvenile, but the Act does not contemplate the absolute exclusion of the media from the proceedings,” Craven said.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer