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January release ordered for La Crosse man, who spent a decade in prison for giving girlfriend fatal dose of heroin



A La Crosse man, who’s served nearly 11 years in prison for reckless homicide in the overdose death of his girlfriend, is scheduled to be released next month.


Mitchell Perner had requested a change in his scheduled release date of July 9, to reflect how he has followed the recommendations of his sentence — the request was for what is legally called “positive adjustment time.”

La Crosse County Judge Elliott Levine ruled that Perner can be released from the minimum-security Oak Hill facility on Jan. 19.

Perner is 33 now. In May of 2011, he received a 12-year prison term for reckless homicide, in supplying heroin to his girlfriend — 20-year-old Shelby Perkins — a year earlier. Perkins overdosed after taking drugs twice in one night.

Perner bought the heroin from Cory Koopman of Sparta, who received an 8-year prison term for reckless homicide in the case.

During a Zoom court hearing Friday, the father of Shelby Perkins asked to have Perner serve his full sentence.

Kelly Perkins said he and his family have “not heard one word of remorse” from Perner about Shelby’s death.

Perner’s attorney, Stephanie Rock, said her client is “very remorseful,” and has avoided contacting the Perkins family under terms of his sentence.

Levine urged Perner to continue doing what he’s been doing in prison to make amends, which has included education and seeking work in an auto body shop upon his release.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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