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Attorneys Want Gabe Parker's Statements Suppressed
By Bill Hughes
BENTON - Attorneys for accused Marshall County High School shooter Gabriel Parker have filed a motion to suppress statements he made to law enforcement on the day of the shooting. 

Parker is accused of opening fire at the school on Jan. 23, 2018, killing Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, and injuring more than a dozen others. He faces two counts of murder and 14 counts of 1st degree assault in the criminal case. 

The motion filed July 15 in Marshall County Circuit Court says Parker's 5th Amendment rights were violated when he was interviewed by the Marshall County Sheriff's Department, Kentucky State Police and the FBI. Specifically, the motion claims that Parker, who was 15 at the time, was not asked if he wanted to waive his Miranda rights after they were read to him, did not have a lawyer present, and his mother was not notified and allowed to be present. The motion also claims that attempts to stop the interrogation by an attorney were ignored. 

The defense team's timeline indicates that Parker was read his rights but was never asked to sign a waiver until 57 minutes into the interrogation. The officer who asked him to sign wasn't present when Parker's rights were read to him, and didn't explain that a signature would waive his rights. The interrogation reportedly ended almost an hour later, when Parker asked for a lawyer. 

During the interrogation, the defense claims that police recognized Parker and asked about his mother, Mary Garrison, but never notified her that her son was being questioned. After learning that Parker was the suspected shooter, Garrison was contacted by Bethany Willcutt from the Department of Public Advocacy, who advised her to stop any interrogation that might be taking place. When asked to help, Willcutt went to the Sheriff's Department to intervene, but was reportedly told by Captain Matt Hilbrecht that she could not see Parker because her office had not been appointed to the case. Willcutt went to the courthouse to wait for Judge Jack Telle to arrive, and was eventually appointed. When she arrived back at the Sheriff's Department, Hilbrecht came out of the interview room, saying Parker had invoked his right to an attorney and the interview was over. The motion says Garrison never saw her son until after the interrogation was over. 

The motion also argues that Parker's statements were not voluntary under the totality of circumstances of a juvenile defendant who had never experienced the court system, had lost his glasses in the police cruiser, and was facing repeated demands from several authority figures. 

A hearing on the motion is set for August 19. Parker's trial is scheduled for June 2020 and has been moved to Christian County. 

On the Net:

Motion to Suppress Defendant's Statements


Published 07:21 PM, Thursday Jul. 18, 2019
Updated 06:02 AM, Thursday Jul. 25, 2019

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