Christine Kalio, writing for entertainment website TheThings, reports on the case of Jesse Wayne Perkins of Clemmens, North Carolina in an article titled, “‘Steve Wilkos’ Criticized After Man Faces Death Penalty After Passing Lie Detector.” Excerpt:
A Steve Wilkos episode originally aired in 2018 has caused fans to question the accuracy of the show’s lie detector tests.
After forming a relationship with a woman named Amanda for five months, Perkins took on the responsibilty of looking after her 15 month old daughter Carolina Rose Dodd.
On 14 November 2018, Perkins appeared on The Steve Wilkos Show where he initially refused to take a lie detector test. He was seen storming off stage and past lie detector expert Daniel Ribacoff’s office. Wilkos pursues him as Perkins demands not to be filmed as he smokes a cigarette outside. After being persuaded to come inside, he still refused to take the lie detector test to prove his innocence.
He yawns and fails to communicate with Steve – who later describes him as a “snake.”
It’s only after Perkins’ girlfriend threatens to break up with him that he agrees to take the test.
He is asked: “Did you witness anyone causing Amanda’s 15 month old daughter’s death?” and “Did you intentionally cause Amanda’s 15 month old daughter’s death?”
He passed both questions – much to the shock of the audience.
On 20 May 2021, Michael Hewlett reported for the Winston-Salem Journal in an article titled, “Prosecutor: 15-Month-Old Girl Smothered to Death When She Wouldn’t Stop Crying After Being Burned by a Cigarette.” Excerpt:
A Clemmons man smothered his girlfriend’s 15-month-old daughter to death with a pillow because she would not stop crying after she was burned by the man’s cigarette, a Forsyth County prosecutor said in court Thursday.
Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, Jesse Wayne Perkins, stood in front of Judge David Hall of Forsyth Superior Court on Thursday morning and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the August 2018 death of the toddler, Carolina Rose Dodd.
The plea saved Perkins from a possible sentence of death if the case had gone to trial and a jury had convicted him of first-degree murder. Forsyth County prosecutors had declared last year that they would pursue the death penalty. The only other sentence for a first-degree murder conviction is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
That’s exactly what Hall sentenced Perkins to after his guilty plea to murder and several unrelated charges, including attempted possession of controlled substances while incarcerated at the Forsyth County Jail awaiting trial. The other charges were consolidated into the murder charge.
Perkins, his girlfriend, Amanda Vanzant, and her daughter, Carolina, lived together in the apartment. Perkins is not the child’s biological father.
Both Vanzant and Perkins initially denied involvement in the child’s death. But Perkins later told investigators that he was caring for Carolina while Vanzant was at work. When Vanzant came home, Carolina was in her Pack-n-Play and Perkins told Vanzant that Carolina was asleep.
Vanzant took a nap. When she woke up, she went to check on Carolina and found the toddler cold and unresponsive.
Perkins told investigators that he was watching movies and smoking a cigarette. Carolina walked into the cigarette and got a burn on her chest and started crying.
Perkins said he tried to calm the toddler but she wouldn’t be quiet. That’s when he said he snapped and grabbed a pillow and smothered her. According to an autopsy report, he placed Carolina facedown in the Pack-n-Play at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 22, 2018. Perkins said Vanzant was in no way involved in her daughter’s death.
Both Jesse Wayne Perkins and Amanda Vanzant passed polygraph “tests” administered for the show. The episode title, “A 15-Month-Old Died: What Do You Have to Hide?” is ironic because clearly, the Steve Wilkos Show itself now has something to hide. Not long after Christine Kalio’s critical reporting for TheThings was published on 19 August 2021, the Steve Wilkos Show deleted its video of the episode from YouTube.
Nonetheless, AntiPolygraph.org has found a 10-minute portion of the episode on YouTube and is mirroring it here for public discussion purposes in the event that YouTube receives a takedown notice: