Gavin Porter, 26, was found dead in his cell at the Union Parish Detention Center in Louisiana on Tuesday, according to authorities. Perry’s sister is Gavin’s mom and she was told by prison officials that Porter had hanged himself with a bedsheet while in solitary confinement, according to a TMZ source.
Perry released a statement on social media thanking fans and friends for their “thoughts and prayers.” He also gave some background into why his nephew was serving 20 years in prison.
“A few years ago my nephew committed a heinous crime—he shot his biological father and killed him just feet away from my sister over a senseless argument. The murder shook our entire family to its core,” Perry wrote. “Despite the horrible act, before he went to prison I went to see him in the local jail. I assured him that we all still loved him, but it was important to all of us, including his mother, that he was punished for this horrific crime that he had committed. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Perry then went on to say that he hoped to help his nephew get back on his feet once he served his time.
“Call me naïve, but it was my hope that after serving his time, really reflecting, showing much remorse, and asking God for forgiveness that he would have been able to come work for me,” Perry wrote. “Where he would join all the other former inmates that work for me and turn his life around, just as they have. But that day will never come.”
Perry then went on to explain the tragic news that his nephew “allegedly committed suicide” in prison. “I say allegedly because, unfortunately, our criminal justice system and prisons have been notorious for cover ups and/or getting it wrong.”
Perry then explained that he’s hired Dr. Michael Baden to do a second autopsy, “and we are expecting the results soon.”
Perry ended by saying, “I want to be clear that we are not a family of conspiracy theorists, and we want to believe that there was no foul play, just as the sheriff has stated publicly. On behalf of my and my sister we thank you for all the thoughts and prayers, and we all have no further comments at this time.”
Perry’s nephew definitely would have had a job available to him, considering Perry’s new 330 acres studio campus in Atlanta, which features 12 sound stages named after iconic Black actors and actresses. So far, the facility has hosted the 2019 Miss Universe competition and a Democratic presidential debate. Perry has also said that he wants the place to be a resource for underserved communities.
“I tell you what I’m most excited about next is that pulling this next phase off is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced and having a compound that is a beautiful place, right here somewhere on these 330 acres, where they’re trained in the business and they become self-sufficient, they live in nice apartments, there’s daycare, there’s all these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society and then pay it forward again,” Perry told Gayle King in a “CBS This Morning” interview.