BANGOR, Maine - The Maine Chief Medical Examiner has released an autopsy report Friday, saying Seminole County firefighter Jerry Perdomo died of a gunshot wound to the head.
The report also said the manner of death has been ruled as a homicide.
Just hours after the autopsy results were released, a candlelight vigil was held in Perdomo's honor at Deltona High School Friday night. Friends said they were shocked from his death and gathered to pay respects and support his family.
Earlier Friday, Daniel Porter, 24, who is accused of killing Perdomo, was in court.
Porter, 24, is charged in the slaying of Perdomo after his body was found Wednesday in a wooded area in Maine.
At his hearing at the Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast, Maine, Porter's lawyer said that Porter says he was acting in self-defense. Porter's attorney blames Perdomo, who they say was in the wrong when he drove to Maine with a gun to collect a $3,000 drug debt. One month earlier, both men threatened to kill each other.
Porter's friends and family members were emotional in court and told him they loved him. Porter's family walked out without comment, but Perdomo's brother-in-law defended Perdomo.
"He put his life on the line in the Marines, then he became a firefighter, not a lot of people in this world are willing to do that. and it says a lot about him," said Chris Lerch, Perdomo's brother-in-law. "Everybody makes mistakes."
He has a bond hearing set for next Thursday at 1 p.m.
If convicted, Porter faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum sentence of 25 years.
His initial appearance was rescheduled for Friday after inclement weather closed court on Thursday morning.
Authorities find body
Perdomo's body was discovered in the town of Newburgh around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, State Police said. The land where the body was found is believed to be owned by relatives of Porter. Porter told his father where he hid Perdomo's body and a gun, according to the arrest affidavit.
A news conference was held Wednesday, in which officials said the body is going to the State Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy, which won't begin until Friday.
Maine State Police released an affidavit showing that Perdomo's death involved illegal drugs, an unpaid debt, handguns, previous threats of violence and, ultimately, murder.
Porter and Perdomo's history
The dispute between Perdomo, 31, and Porter, dates back to at least Jan. 8, 2012, when Porter called law enforcement to accuse Perdomo of throwing rocks through the window of Porter's home in Newburgh, Maine, the affidavit revealed.
Perdomo told an investigating deputy that Porter had a machine gun and threatened to shoot him and put his body through a wood chipper. For his part, Porter claimed Perdomo threatened to cut off his hands and kill him, according to the affidavit.
On Jan. 20, Porter, 24, and his girlfriend, Cheyanne Nowak, 23, bought a .357 handgun at a Bangor pawn shop, officials said. It's unclear if Nowak was involved and if she'll face any charges.
On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Perdomo left his Orange City, Fla., home in a rented Toyota Camry and headed to Bangor, where he arrived the next morning and stayed with his girlfriend, Lisa Gould, investigators said.
Gould told police that Perdomo left her home around 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 armed with a Glock Model 30 .45-caliber handgun, his wallet and two cellphones. Perdomo said "he was going to meet someone who owed him money," the affidavit states. Cellphone records show Perodmo called Porter's phone at 6:07 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m., Perdomo met Nowak at a truck stop in Newburgh and followed her to Porter's father's home in Jackson, Nowak told investigators. Nowak said she last saw Perdomo with Porter at the house, when she left around 7 p.m. to pick up her son, according to the affidavit.
Cellphone records reveal that Perdomo called his wife Tonya at 6:08 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. that evening. His last call with his wife ended at 7:45 p.m., with Perdomo saying he was riding on a dirt road in Maine, according to the affidavit.
Investigators said they believe it was at Porter's father's home in Jackson that Porter shot Perdoma to death.
Nowak said she returned to the house around 9 p.m. and did not see Perdomo's rented Camry at the property, according to the affidavit. Porter told her that Perdomo went back to his girlfriend's house in Bangor, officials said.
Nowak said she never went back inside the house because she and Porter argued and she left to spend the night at her mother's house in Brooks, according to the affidavit.
At 3 a.m. the next morning, Porter arrived in Brooks driving his father's black Cadillac, leaving around 7:30 a.m. to cut wood, Nowak told investigators.
At 8:20 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, Porter was seen on surveillance video abandoning Perdomo's rental car in a Walmart parking lot, according to the affidavit. Seven minutes later, he was seen on a book store's surveillance video leaving the Walmart and crossing Stillwater Avenue, officials said.
Another camera, at a nearby grocery store, showed Porter throw a plastic bag into a garbage can just outside the store's entrance, according to the affidavit.
Later, the video shows Nowak and Porter reuniting at the grocery store, which is consistent with Nowak's claim that Porter called her and asked that she pick him up at the grocery store near the Walmart, according to the affidavit.
Focus turns to Porter
That afternoon, investigators learned, Porter borrowed a friend's pickup truck and "brought it back a couple hours later and it was all muddy."
Six days after Porter dumped the bag in the garbage, investigators searched a large trash container taken from the grocery story and hauled to an incineration plant in Orrington. In a plastic bag, they found Perdomo's car keys, as well as two cellphones, a wallet and other items, according to the affidavit.
The next day, investigators interviewed Porter in Connecticut, where he had gone to visit family. He lied about his whereabouts the previous weeks, investigators said, even when confronted with video of him dumping the car at the Walmart.
"Porter's eyes welled up with tears when Porter was told that the police have retrieved" the trash bag he dumped at the grocery store, officials said.
Just prior to the Feb. 24 interview, Porter told a local police officer that he went to Connecticut to visit his family because "it might be the last time he might see them as a free man. He indicated he expected to be in prison the next time he sees them," the affidavit states.
Police executed a search warrant at Porter's father's home in Jackson, and on Feb. 27 reported finding "blood droplets, spatter, what appears to be a piece of skull or bone and evidence of a broken window. There were new carpets on the floor covering an area that tested presumptive positive for blood," the affidavit states.
The Maine State Police crime lab compared the DNA of the blood to a sample from Perdomo's father and confirmed that the blood found in the home was male and consistent with being the offspring of Perdomo's father.
Perdomo was married with two children -- a boy and a girl ages 10 and 3 -- and was a firefighter and emergency medical technician for Seminole County Fire Department Station 41 in Sanford.
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