Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Parks v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 11, 2017

WILLIAM RAY PARKS A/K/A BILL PARKS A/K/A WILLIAM PARKS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          Date of Judgment: 08/17/2015

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: COPIAH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LAMAR PICKARD TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: MATTHEW ALLEN BALDRIDGE BENJAMIN FREEMAN ROBINSON.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD.

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND WILSON, JJ.

          WILSON, J.

         ¶1. William Parks claimed that he shot and killed Joshua Tarver in self-defense, but a Copiah County jury convicted him of heat-of-passion manslaughter. The circuit court sentenced Parks to twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with two years suspended and two years of post-release supervision. On appeal, Parks argues that the jury should not have been instructed on heat-of-passion manslaughter, that the deputy medical examiner was not qualified or competent to testify as to Tarver's cause of death or about Tarver's autopsy, that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction, and that his conviction is against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. We find no reversible error; therefore, we affirm Parks's conviction and sentence.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Parks lived and operated an auto repair and restoration business in a rural area of Copiah County near Crystal Springs. Parks lived with his mother, Mary, near the entrance to the property, and his business was located farther back on the land. There were also two trailers on the property. In 2014, Parks hired twenty-three-year-old Tarver to assist him at his shop. Parks also allowed Tarver to live in one of the trailers on the property.

         ¶3. Parks was also employed by a contractor in the offshore drilling industry. Parks went to work offshore on November 13, 2014, and did not return home until November 27, 2014. While Parks was gone, around November 20, 2014, his shop was burglarized. Tarver notified the Copiah County Sheriff's Department of the burglary, and Deputy Alvin Starkey responded and met with Tarver and Mary. Starkey asked for a list of the missing property, but he never received it. On November 22, 2014, Starkey returned to Parks's property and met with Mary. Tarver was gone, and the trailer in which he had been living was empty. Starkey attempted to call Tarver to follow up, but Tarver never returned his calls. Parks met with Starkey on November 28, 2014, after he returned home from his work offshore.

         ¶4. On Saturday, December 6, 2014, Parks was working in his shop. The shop was not open for business, so Parks had all of its doors closed as he worked. From inside the shop, Parks heard a noise from the back of the property that sounded as though a vehicle was stuck in the mud. Parks took a .45-caliber handgun and went to investigate. Outside the shop, Parks met Mary, and Mary told him that Tarver was on the property. Parks had not seen Tarver since he returned home and learned of the burglary. Parks told Mary to call 911.

         ¶5. Parks testified in his own defense at trial. He testified that as he walked toward the noise, he saw a truck with a trailer stuck in the mud. He did not recognize the truck, but he saw tools in the trailer that he believed had been stolen from his shop. As Parks emerged from a wooded area, he began firing at the truck. Parks testified that he was shooting at the truck's tires because he wanted to prevent it from leaving his property before law enforcement arrived. As he fired at the truck, Parks saw someone in his "side vision" running toward him. He turned and recognized that it was Tarver. Tarver announced, "Don't shoot! It's Josh." Parks testified that he acknowledged Tarver and told him to "stop." Park claims that he "shot at the ground in front of [Tarver's] feet to stop him." Parks then turned back toward the truck and resumed shooting at the truck.

         ¶6. Parks claims that Tarver continued toward him, so he "turned around and looked at [Tarver] dead in the eye" and fired another warning shot near Tarver. Parks testified that he sensed that the truck was about to get unstuck from the mud, so he turned and again resumed shooting at the truck. Parks claims that Tarver then continued running toward him, knocked him off his feet, and grabbed for the gun. Parks testified that while they "were tussling with each other . . . on the ground, " the gun "went off." Tarver was shot in the arm, and the bullet traveled through Tarver's arm into his torso. Tarver fell to the ground.

         ¶7. Parks then stood up and fired the rest of his bullets at the truck as it left his property. He testified that he did not notice that Tarver had been shot until after the truck was gone. He then walked back to his house to check on his mother and to confirm that she had called 911. He returned to check on Tarver, who was dead, and then sat and waited for law enforcement to arrive.

         ¶8. When law enforcement arrived, Parks told them that he had shot Tarver. Officers looked for shell casings in the area but did not find any. They did find Tarver's cell phone, which showed that Tarver had called Parks that day. Parks claimed that cell phone reception was spotty in his shop, and he denied that he had received Tarver's calls. Judy Evans, the deputy medical examiner for Copiah County, arrived and found Tarver's body face-down in the mud. She turned over the body to photograph it and declared Tarver dead at the scene.

         ¶9. Parks was indicted for first-degree murder. At trial, Deputy Michael Stogner of the Copiah County Sheriff's Department testified that dispatch received a call from Mary at 1:08 p.m. to report that Parks was shooting at Tarver, who, according to Mary, "wasn't supposed to be on [Parks's] land." At 1:14 p.m., dispatch received a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.