Son of Sal explodes in court, firing his lawyer

July 22, 2013 Denise Romano
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Salvatore Perrone, better known as Son of Sal, was full of surprises at his latest appearance in Kings County Supreme Court on Monday, July 22.

Perrone, who is accused of murdering three Brooklyn shopkeepers last year, fired his attorney, William T. Martin, alleging that he was “just running out the clock,” and will now represent himself.

The first victim in the string of shopkeeper murders that Perrone is accused of perpetrating was Mohamed Gebeli, who was shot in the neck in his store, Valentino’s Fashion, in Bay Ridge on July 6. Isaac Kadare was shot in his shop, Amazing 99 Cent Deals and Up, in Bensonhurst, on August 2.  The final victim, Rahmatollah Vahidipour, was gunned down in his Flatbush business, She She Boutique, on November 16.

All men had family-owned and operated businesses, and were shot just before closing time, with the same .22 caliber, sawed-off rifle. Part of the rifle was recovered at Perrone’s home.

“Mr. Martin has done nothing in my interest. With all due respect, I can’t do any worse than he is doing,” Perrone contended. “He has done nothing to pursue telephone records or anything.”

Judge Alan Marrus warned Perrone of the significance of his decision and asked if he had any prior legal training, to which he responded that he had worked in the apparel industry and prior to that for billionaire business mogul George Soros.

“According to Mr. Martin, I’m charged with six murders,” Perrone said.

“You are charged with killing three individuals,” Marrus told him.

“He told me I would be getting the death penalty,” Perrone said.

“Mr. Martin knows there is no death penalty…you are facing life in jail. This is a very serious sentence you are facing,” Marrus said. “Do you understand that you are taking a risk without having an attorney representing you?”

“I can have the best attorney in the United States represent me but without the video I have no alibi,” Perrone answered, referring to the MTA surveillance video of him that he said would clear his name during his last appearance in April.

“This guy is a fake. He is a liar,” Perrone said of Martin. “He’s just running out the clock like [Assistant District Attorney Melissa] Carvajal. They are well aware if you run out the clock, you get no more Sprint/Virgin [phone] records.”

Marrus assigned attorney Howard Kirsch as Perrone’s legal advisor and contended that Perrone is having trouble keeping his representation straight. Perrone sent two letters to the judge, on June 11 and July 10, demanding that Martin be fired. However, the return address on both envelopes was of Charles Baxley, of Heart, Baxley, Danies & Holton, a law firm in Manhattan.

“I didn’t know why I was getting mail from Baxley’s office,” Marrus said. “Baxley said he didn’t send anything and that Mr. Perrone was not authorized to use his name. Baxley wrote him [Perrone] another letter saying that he isn’t willing to represent him in any criminal matter. He had helped him previously, but he was not a criminal lawyer.”

Perrone contended, “I’m only using his return address. I have no return address that I know I can trust.”

“Do what every other person in jail does – use the prison return address,” Marrus shot back.

“I got no attention,” Perrone said.

Later in the hearing, Carvajal said that she had subpoenaed the video of the Parkside Avenue Q train station that Perrone had referred to back in April.  Perrone had contended that the video of him entering the subway would clear his name in at least the final murder. The MTA told Carvajal that no surveillance video was installed at the location. But, a detective found video at the exit of the station, not the entrance.

“Between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., we do not see Mr. Perrone exiting that station. We believe he killed the victim at 6 p.m. and then have video of him going to the train,” Carvajal said, adding that there are a total of 127 surveillance videos to be reviewed by the defense.

“If you look at the death certificate and see the time the victim is found dead, it’s not the time that the victim was killed,” she explained to a confused Perrone.

“The entrance and exit is one and the same. I’m very familiar with Parkside Avenue,” Perrone contended.

Carvajal went onto say that there had been a forensic exam of Perrone’s computer found at his girlfriend’s house as well as his cell phone. The phone search showed nothing: the phone was old, prepaid and had no camera, SIM card or SD card. According to Carvajal, the settings automatically erased incoming and outgoing text messages and the incoming and outgoing call log was empty.

“I want to send a subpoena in order to get records to that phone,” Perrone told the judge.

“But there were no records found,” Marrus said.

“We need a private investigator. That goes without saying,” Perrone said to Kirsch.

Marrus adjourned the court until September 27, to allow the prosecution to review more records from the crime scenes.

Just relieved of his duties, Martin wished Perrone the best of luck.

“There’s an old adage that the person who represents himself has a fool for a client,” Martin said. “Reality is a problem in this case for Mr. Perrone.”

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