Northern California prosecutors file murder charge against shooting suspect found in Stockton

Butte County prosecutors on Tuesday formally filed a murder charge against a defendant accused of shooting a man in the face in Oroville, before detectives found the wanted suspect six days later in Stockton.

Joseph Andrew Perkins, 54, of Oroville, is accused of fatally shooting Richard Allen Kelly, 61, of Chico, the Butte County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release. Along with the murder charge, Perkins faces a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and an enhancement for allegedly using a gun in Kelly’s death.

Perkins appeared Tuesday for his arraignment in Butte Superior Court. Prosecutors said the judge postponed Perkins’ arraignment until Thursday and ordered the defendant to remain in custody without bail at the Butte County Jail.

Perkins has eight previous felony convictions, including two convictions considered strikes under California’s “Three Strikes” law.

The deadly shooting was initially reported shortly before 10:30 p.m. April 20 in the 500 block of Lodgeview Drive, in an Oroville residential neighborhood just south of Lake Oroville State Recreation Area.

A woman called 911 to report that her friend had just been shot outside her home in the 500 block of Lodgeview Drive in the Kelly Ridge area of Oroville. Prosecutors said the woman during the 911 call identified the shooter as her boyfriend, whom she referred to as “Joey,” and she said he had already left the area.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home and found Kelly dead with a gunshot wound to his face, according to the District Attorney’s Office. The deputies found Kelly in the street next to his vehicle.

The woman who had called 911 and the homeowner were at the home and questioned by sheriff’s detectives. Prosecutors said detectives identified Perkins as the shooting suspect based on those interviews and learned that Perkins had driven away in the homeowner’s vehicle. That vehicle was later found abandoned nearby.

A judge that night issued an arrest warrant for Perkins. Two days later, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office asked the public to help find the wanted homicide suspect.

Sheriff’s officials said detectives learned Perkins had been staying at a Stockton home. The detectives conducted surveillance on the home.

After Perkins was spotted leaving the home Friday evening, sheriff’s detectives — with help from the Stockton Police Department — arrested Perkins at a nearby gas station. Prosecutors said the detectives served the search warrant and found several firearms in the home, including a loaded pistol under the pillow on the bed where Perkins had been sleeping.