May 30, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 15-CR-202 -
Richard L. Young, Judge.
Wood, Chief Judge, and Sykes and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
HAMILTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Renee Perillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit
kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(c), and to
commissioning a murder for hire in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1958. Before sentencing, Perillo moved to withdraw her
plea. The district court denied Perillo's motion and
sentenced her to concurrent terms of 324 months for
conspiracy to kidnap and 120 months for commissioning a
murder for hire. The court also ordered Perillo to pay just
under $75, 000 in restitution. Perillo appeals the denial of
her motion to withdraw her plea and the restitution order.
Perillo's plea agreement included a valid appellate
waiver that covers both of these claims, however, so we
dismiss her appeal.
Factual & Procedural Background
underlying facts here sound like the plot of a mediocre
novel, focused on Perillo's relationship with her
boyfriend, Dr. Arnaldo Trabucco, and her attempts to harm
Trabucco's ex-wife and the ex-wife's divorce
attorney. On May 22, 2015, police responded to a 911 call
from the divorce attorney's husband. Officers found
Perillo and her son, Richard Perillo, hiding in the back of
the caller's SUV in Noblesville, Indiana. The Perillos
had with them a loaded handgun, binoculars, a plastic bag,
latex gloves, a knife, a rubber tourniquet, and a syringe
that Perillo claimed contained heroin, but in fact contained
a potentially lethal dose of succinylcholine, a paralytic.
The police arrested Perillo and her son. They obtained a
warrant to search Perillo's car, where they found:
ammunition, duct tape, a long blonde wig, two machetes, a
tranquilizer gun and darts, alcohol pads, syringes, a
"commando" saw, a hammer, a shovel with dirt on it,
three license plates, a walking cane, a priest disguise, and
a full-headed silicone mask depicting an elderly man's
forty-eight hours, Trabucco bonded Perillo out of the county
jail. Perillo fled west. She was arrested about a month later
in Montana. When she was returned to Indiana, she was placed
in a cell with Lisa Starr Ramos. According to the government,
Perillo told Ramos about her crimes and that she still wanted
to kill attorney Rebecca Eimerman, the person she had been
hoping would get into the SUV where she was hiding on May 22
in Noblesville. Ramos contacted the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. An agent suggested that Ramos give Perillo the
name and telephone number of a hitman named
"Don-Don," who was of course an undercover agent.
called "Don-Don" to discuss hiring him to kill
Eimerman. She then followed up with a letter describing
Eimerman's appearance, vehicle, work address, and daily
schedule. She also told "Don-Don" that the murder
"should look like spur of the moment," and she
suggested that he "intercept her at [the] gym and take
her to [the] bank" to make the murder look like a
robbery gone wrong.
November 2015, Perillo was charged with conspiracy to kidnap
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(c); possession of a
firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 924(c); interstate transportation of a
firearm with intent to commit a felony in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 924(b); and commissioning a murder for hire in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1958. The parties negotiated a
plea deal. Perillo agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to
kidnap and commissioning a murder for hire. The government
agreed to dismiss the other charges.
Perillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap, she
maintained that her intent was actually to kill her victims.
In the plea agreement, Perillo admitted that she drove from
Florida to Nebraska, stopping along the way to pick up her
son and to dig a pit that her son said was intended as a
grave for Trabucco's ex-wife. When the Perillos could not
find Trabucco's ex-wife in Nebraska, they headed to
Indiana, intending to kill attorney Eimerman. They brought
with them the paralytic and firearm. Perillo also admitted
that she later mailed the letter to the supposed hitman
saying that she would pay him to kill Eimerman. At
Perillo's request, the plea language was edited to state
that Ramos actually wrote a portion of the letter but that it
was "adopted by Renee Perillo."
district court held a hearing, engaged in a full Rule 11
colloquy to ensure that Perillo's guilty pleas were
knowing and voluntary, and accepted her pleas of guilty to
both charges. The court's questioning covered the terms
of the plea agreement, including the waiver of Perillo's
right to appeal her sentence, which was contingent on her
receiving a guideline sentence. The court asked Perillo if
she understood the appellate waiver, if she had discussed it