Charges likely in Perl death

NEW CUMBERLAND–Authorities plan to coordinate the filing of criminal charges next week in the beating death of James C. Perl.

Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis said he has scheduled a meeting with the Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office and the East Liverpool Police Department to discuss the matter.

“We’re going to come to a cooperative resolution as to how we’re going to go forward against whoever we’re going to go forward against,” he said.

Davis would not say whether authorities have identified a suspect. “We’re going to discuss that with Columbiana County and come to a consensus on that,” he said.

Davis said he just got the case file on Friday morning and has not had a chance to review witness statements, the autopsy finding or other aspects of the case.

Perl’s death on Aug. 13 was ruled a homicide this week, following a forensic autopsy by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner. The cause was determined to be blunt impacts to the head and neck, although a weapon has not been identified.

Perl, 44, of East Liverpool, was on an Ohio River fishing trip in Hancock County with at least one other person when the beating occurred. His body was taken to an East Liverpool residence and then to East Liverpool City Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Davis said it would be “premature” to discuss where the charges will be filed or other details of the case.

There is still some question as to whether Perl expired in Hancock County or Columbiana County.

If charges are filed next week, the case would still have to be bound over to the grand jury. The Hancock County grand jury meets again in January.