Former Duluth man sentenced to 25 years for drugging, raping woman in 2013

A judge refused to break from guidelines but also declined to impose the statutory maximum sentence on Alvin Perkins, who claimed to have turned his life around after decades of crime.


A former Duluth man has been sentenced to 25 ½ years in prison for drugging and raping a woman in 2013.

Alvin Perkins, 58, received the guideline sentence Monday from 6th Judicial District Judge Dale Harris. Perkins, who had relocated to Arizona by the time he was charged last year, has seven prior felony convictions in Minnesota.

A criminal complaint filed in January 2019 stated that Perkins picked up two women , who were unknown to him, in downtown Duluth in August 2013 and brought them to his East Hillside apartment, where he provided them with an unidentified sleep-inducing drug.

One woman later told police she woke up to being sexually assaulted. She reported that she fled the apartment and encountered the other woman, who also said she had been raped, according to the complaint.

Duluth police said the case was investigated at the time, but closed without charges in 2016. It was reopened the next year when contact was re-established with one of the victims, with additional investigation and forensic testing completed at the request of prosecutors before charges were filed.


While the complaint alleges that both women were raped, only one charge could be filed as the other alleged victim has since died.

A jury in November found Perkins guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct under two alternate theories: that the victim was mentally incapacitated and physically helpless.

The 306-month sentence fell at the bottom of Minnesota sentencing guidelines as applied to Perkins, whose criminal history dates back to the 1980s and includes many convictions for crimes such as assault, robbery, terroristic threats, financial fraud, escape from custody, theft, drug possession and impaired driving.

Minnesota law requires Perkins to serve at least two-thirds of the sentence, 17 years, in prison before he is eligible for supervised release.

Public defender J.D. Schmid asked the judge to depart from guidelines and impose a probationary sentence, arguing that a lengthy prison term "runs afoul of both the public interest and the policies outlined in the sentencing guidelines."

Schmid said Perkins, after moving away from Duluth, found a way to address his addiction and mental health needs without committing new crimes. He argued that the long prison term would not have any deterrent effect, but instead harm Perkins' rehabilitation, adding that decades of incarceration would likely cost taxpayers well in excess of $1.5 million.

"The people of Minnesota can expect almost no return on this investment beyond unnecessarily incapacitating Mr. Perkins," Schmid wrote, "and the neurological and psychological benefit that some people receive through the act of punishing the misconduct of others."

Perkins, according to court documents, has an "extensive history of mental health hospitalizations related to bipolar disorder and depression."


In a letter to Harris, the defendant said he has made "significant changes" in his life, but spending the past eight months in jail has negatively impacted his physical and mental health.

"I can say many things in trying to ask for mercy, but first I am sorry for what happened in this case," Perkins wrote. "I speak from my heart when I say this as I ask for a stayed sentence with multiple years of probation, please. I have had time to look back over my life and over the last several years I have tamed down to understand what a normal life means."

But St. Louis County prosecutor Vicky Wanta argued "there is not one substantial or compelling reason" for Perkins to "avoid the natural consequences of his own decision" to drug and rape the victim. She asked for a statutory maximum term of 30 years.

"It is not possible to claim Mr. Perkins has demonstrated rehabilitation after such an egregious rape when, in his mind, there is no sex offense to be rehabilitated from," Wanta wrote in a brief.

"He has never taken responsibility for what he did to the victim. He has never expressed any remorse for how much harm he has caused by his actions. He never took it upon himself after he left town to go through any treatment to address his sex offense. He has never acknowledged the danger he poses to the victim, or women in general, and instead opted to send a letter to the court complaining of the danger posed to him should go to prison."

Alvin Perkins, 6/19/1961

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
What To Read Next
Get Local