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Cops: Man accused of strangling children’s mother was abusive

Perth Earl wasn’t allowed to be at ex-girlfriend Angela Burnett’s house. 

He’d been evicted from the Phil Niekro Parkway home in 2016, and per Gwinnett County police reports, was not allowed on the premises. 

The last time he was at the home, according to police, he killed her. 

Burnett, 37, was found strangled in her home following a domestic dispute with Earl at 2 a.m. Friday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Police said two children the couple shared were inside the home as well as Burnett’s special needs adult child. 

MORE: Man accused of strangling his children’s mother captured in Ohio

Earl was arrested Friday in Elyria, Ohio, after local authorities received a tip about his whereabouts, police Capt. Chris Costantino. 

“Luckily (police) went into an apartment complex and noticed the vehicle (a white Nissan Rogue) was parked in the rear of the complex,” Costantino told The AJC. Earl had a makeshift bed in the backseat and parked so that his Georgia license plate was facing an apartment building. 

Costantino said Earl is originally from Oberlin, Ohio, but “where we found him, I don’t think was any more than just a good place to hide.” Earl is believed to still have family in Ohio, but Constantino could not say if he had ties to Elyria. 

Perth Earl (Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department)

The 39-year-old faces charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in Burnett’s death. He remains in the Lorain County jail awaiting extradition. 

Earl, who had a 12-year relationship with Burnett that ended in the summer of 2016, has a well-documented history of abuse dating to at least 2008, according to Gwinnett police reports. 

Last year, Perth went to the home unannounced four times and on one occasion grabbed and tossed Burnett, causing her to hit the back of her head against a wooden banister, police reports show.  

Burnett filed a temporary protection order Oct. 20, 2016, but that was short-lived. The judge threw it out a week later when she failed to make a hearing, according to court records. 

But Burnett took other protective measures. 

After Earl moved out, she changed the locks and added metal screen doors, according to a Feb. 22, 2017, report in which police allege Earl took the phone from her and hung up on a 911 call she made when she discovered he was in the home. 

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Burnett said she wasn’t sure how he got inside the home — there were no signs of forced entry — but said he may have made a copy of a spare key she had lying around the home. 

The couple were involved in several other domestic abuse incidents between 2008 and 2015, according to police reports obtained by The AJC. 

On Dec. 19, 2008, Burnett told police Earl came home from work and accused her of “talking to another man.” Burnett said he grabbed her, threw her on the ground and then broke her cellphone. Earl then grabbed a hammer and smashed a TV before kicking over the Christmas tree, according to the report. 

The case was later dismissed by a judge, according to online court records. 

In another case, police said Earl and Burnett got into a fight after leaving dinner Sept. 11, 2011. The two continued the argument at home, ending with Earl grabbing Burnett’s hair and hitting her in the back of the head five or six times, according to the police report. A bloodied and bruised Burnett managed to hit Earl and escape, but he fled the scene. 

Earl pleaded guilty two months later to battery in the case and was sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered to pay a $50 fine, according to online court records. He was not convicted in any of his other cases, some of which were still tied up in the court system. 

Gwinnett police have not released details about what led to Burnett’s strangulation or how Earl allegedly got into the home. 

Her family said Burnett had just joined a church and was attending school. 

“Last year she joined Victory World Church and was recently baptized,” her family said in a statement. “She had also enrolled into college to complete her psychology degree.”

Funeral services for Burnett have not been announced. 

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