The case against Perry March for the attempted murder of the Levines came to trial in Nashville on June 1, 2006. Arthur March, hospitalized with chronic heart disease, chose to plead guilty to the charges and agreed to give a deposition regarding his participation in the plot.
The prosecution's star witness was Russell Farris, who testified that Perry March had asked him to do the killings. Farris admitted that he had five prior felony convictions on his recordthree for attempted murder and two for aggravated robbery. He told the court that March's proposition troubled him, and that he confided in his mother, Vickie Farris, as well as his lawyer. Mrs. Farris called Lawrence Levine directly to warn him that March was out to kill him. When the authorities learned of the situation, they persuaded Farris to tape his conversations with March.
Farris testified that Perry March had tantalized him with the promise of a better life in Mexico after the murders were completed. According to Farris, March had told him that they could go into business together in Mexico, doing "express kidnappings" of the children of wealthy parents. "He told me he'd done several," Farris told the court. As reported in The Tennessean, March already had a potential victim for this scheme, a British billionaire who was living in Mexico. "Three hundred thousand without the blink of an eye," March allegedly told Farris, indicated the ransom they'd reap.
Excerpts from Farris's jailhouse conversations with March regarding the planned murders were played for the court. Jurors heard March telling Farris, "Do it. You have to do it when they're both together to help me."
Jurors also heard recordings of Farris's telephone conversations with Arthur March. "When this operation is finished... remember, you've got a home," Arthur March told the would-be assassin. As reported on Court TV.com, on another occasion Arthur March enticed Farris with visions of paradise in Mexico: "The sky is blue, the beer is cold, and the women are hot. What more do you need?" At the time of these phone calls, the Marches believed that Farris was free on bond and making arrangements to carry out the murders. In fact he had been transferred to the Williamson County Jail where he continued the ruse.
After their indictment, Perry March had tried to keep his father from cooperating with the state. Arthur March's attorney, Fletcher Long, testified that he witnessed March telling his father in jail, "Dad, I'm not going to roll on you. You're not going to roll on me. We will wear these jumpsuits with a badge of honor."
Perry March's lawyers tried to discredit Farris, characterizing the conspiracy as merely a story that the career criminal had concocted to improve his own situation with the authorities. But the jury rejected this theory, and on June 9, 2006, voted to convict Perry March on all counts.
This was just the midpoint in Perry March's legal ordeal. Prior to this trial he had been found guilty in civil court in the battle over Janet's assets. Now he had to defend himself against charges that he had murdered of his wife.