Defense attorneys representing a Virginia man charged in the 2013 shooting death of a Killeen woman claim their client’s rights were violated during a police interview.
The two lawyers asked Bell County District Judge Fancy Jezek on Monday to throw out a recorded interview between police and Harry Alvin Parsons, 27, of Newport News, as well as any evidence police may have gained from the interrogation.
Parsons is charged with the first-degree murder of Veronica Denise Avant. Police said Parsons shot Avant in a Killeen apartment while fighting with another man.
On Monday, defense attorney Zachary Boyd said Killeen detectives ignored Parsons’ request for an attorney while questioning him at the Bell County Jail soon after his arrest.
Boyd played a portion of the recorded interview, where Parsons mentions speaking with an attorney.
“(There’s) not much I can really say before I talk to my lawyer first, to see what’s going on,” Parsons said on the recording.
Detectives, however, continued to speak with him after the comment.
“He unambiguously requested counsel,” Boyd said.
Bell County prosecutors disagreed, saying Parsons was read his Miranda rights before the interview. They said he later asked to be transported to Killeen Police Department headquarters, where he waived those rights again before making recorded and written statements.
KPD Detective Fred Harris testified he did not believe Parsons’ statement during the original interview was a clear request for an attorney.
“The mere fact that he mentioned an attorney doesn’t mean he’s asking for one,” Harris said. “He didn’t ask for an attorney, and the interview continued.”
Jezek did not rule on the defense motion to suppress the evidence. She said she would make a decision by the end of the week.
Parsons remains in Bell County Jail on $1 million bond. If convicted, he could face up to 99 years in prison.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.