When 44-year-olddied from a gunshot wound to the head, her husband , an officer with the Eatonton, Georgia, Police Department, told investigators that she had committed suicide. But when the Putnam County Sheriff saw the way her body was lying in the couple's bed, he says he didn't see a suicide, he saw a murder.
Fall 2011: A whirlwind romance
A recently divorced Amanda Johnson met Seth Perrault online. At the time, Perrault was battling cancer and living with his parents, who were paying his bills.
The couple quickly fell in love and within six months, Johnson moved in with Perrault and became his caregiver. In 2017, Seth's cancer went into remission.
Amanda Johnson begins to drift away from family
As Perrault and Johnson grew closer, two of Amanda's sisters claim that they lost touch with her. "She didn't come to, like, any of our Christmas events or, like, any of our events because she had to host for his family and cook for all of them," Alesha Johnson told "48 Hours."
Angie Johnson also claims that for years, Perrault would not allow Amanda to get a job or, at times, have a cell phone of her own. They say he was controlling and mistreated their sister.
June 23, 2017: Seth and Amanda tie the knot
After five years together, Seth Perrault and Amanda Johnson quietly got married at the local courthouse, with just their children in attendance.
Alesha and Angie Johnson believe that Seth only asked their sister to marry him because he wanted custody of his daughter from a previous relationship. For over a year, Seth had been in a custody dispute with the girl's mother and, as his lawyer told "48 Hours" contributor Anne-Marie Green, "If Amanda was gonna be present in his daughter's life … they had to get married."
A few months after the couple were married, Seth was awarded full custody of his daughter.
Nov. 1, 2018: Amanda Perrault's dream home
In 2018, Seth Perrault's father bought his son a beautiful home near Lake Oconee in Eatonton, Georgia. Alesha Johnson told "48 Hours" that Amanda loved their new home and being a stepmother to Seth's daughter, but her marriage was becoming more and more contentious.
Nov. 19, 2018: Seth Perrault becomes Officer Perrault
About a year after they moved into their new home, Seth Perrault was hired by the Eatonton Police department. He had previously applied to the Putnam County Sheriff's office, but was rejected for lack of experience.
Jan. 28, 2020: Amanda Perrault calls 911
Amanda Perrault called 911 from a neighbor's house, and told a Putnam County Sheriff's dispatcher that her husband —an officer with the Eatonton Police Department — had assaulted her. Deputies responded to the call and saw red marks across Amanda's chest.
Seth Perrault's 8-year-old daughter witnessed the incident and told the deputies that she heard the couple arguing and saw her father push Amanda out the door. She also said she was afraid and hid in her closet -- but was ordered out by her father.
Jan. 28, 2020: Seth Perrault is arrested
Deputies subsequently arrested Seth Perrault and charged him with simple battery, family violence, and cruelty to children in the third degree. That night, Amanda Perrault called her sister, Angie Johnson, and asked to be picked up in the morning.
Jan. 29, 2020: Seth Perrault is released from jail on bond
The day after Seth Perrault's arrest, Amanda Perrault told her sister Angie not to come pick her up. Instead, she decided to attend Seth's bond hearing. When the judge asked Amanda if she wanted a stay away order added to Seth's bond conditions, she said no. Seth was then released on a $1,500 bond, and Amanda allowed him to return home.
Feb. 3, 2020: Seth Perrault reports his wife's death
Five days after Seth Perrault's release from jail, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills was called about an alleged suicide at the Perrault house. Sheriff Howard Sills told "48 Hours" that Seth Perrault told him he and Amanda were in bed arguing, "And then all of a sudden she just produced the gun outta thin air and executed herself."
After briefly inspecting the house, Sheriff Sills called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to collect the evidence. Perrault was taken to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department for more questioning. Seth said Amanda felt bad about his arrest after their fight and that she wanted to "recant her statement".
Seth said, Amanda, "looked at me and said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I put you through this." "Boom."
Feb. 4, 2020: Sheriff's deputies canvas the Perrault's neighborhood
The day after Amanda's death, sheriff's deputies questioned the Perrault's neighbors and learned that Seth and Amanda had a history of domestic violence. Neighbors said the couple could be heard fighting often and that Seth Perrault seemed to be the aggressor. A neighbor also recounted seeing Seth drag Amanda down the driveway by her hair. Another neighbor said he would often stand in his yard listening to the couple arguing in case he needed to call for help. No one ever called the police because, as they told sheriff's deputies, Seth was the police.
Feb. 5, 2020: Seth Perrault is arrested a second time
Two days after Amanda Perrault's death, Sheriff Sills felt he had enough evidence to obtain a warrant for Seth Perrault's arrest.
Feb. 11, 2020: An Interview with Seth's Perrault's daughter
Days after Seth Perrault's arrest, his then-8-year-old daughter was interviewed by a forensic child psychologist about what she witnessed the day Seth was arrested on charges of domestic abuse. That interview would later be used as evidence at trial.
July 31, 2020: A jailhouse informant
Jack Faulk and Seth Perrault were on the same dorm block at the Jones County Jail when Faulk reached out to Sheriff Sills. In two handwritten letters to the sheriff, Faulk detailed what he claimed Perrault told him about Amanda's death, including that Seth said, "He had been giving [Amanda] pain killers all day" and that "she was passed out" at the time of her death.
Aug. 21, 2020: Autopsy report is released
Nearly seven months after Amanda Perrault's death, Georgia Bureau of Investigation forensic pathologist Dr. Lora Darrisaw released her autopsy report declaring the manner of death suicide. Sheriff Sills says he was shocked, but undeterred by that report.
Nov. 3, 2020: A grand jury Indicts Seth Perrault
After spending nearly 9 months in jail, a grand jury decided that despite the coroner's report, there was enough evidence for Seth Perrault to stand trial in the murder of his wife, Amanda.
Feb. 25, 2022: Seth Perrault is found guilty
After deliberating for just under two-and-a-half hours, a jury of eight women and four men found Seth Perrault guilty of murder. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole.
After his sentencing, Perrault's new legal team filed his first appeal, which was rejected.
Every August, on Amanda's birthday, her sisters honor her memory by releasing love letters tied to purple balloons. This year, they included the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Their hope is that the notes will find the people who need them most.
Angie and Alesha Johnson remember their sister as a free spirit, a beloved best friend, and a dedicated mother.
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