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Marshall Co. High School Shooting Defendant Gabriel Parker Arraigned in Circuit Court

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Matt Markgraf, WKMS
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The teenager accused of opening fire on classmates at Marshall County High School will be tried as an adult on felony charges of murder and assault.

15-year-old Gabriel Ross Parker of Hardin, Kentucky, was arraigned on Friday in Marshall County Circuit Court before Judge Jamie Jameson. The proceeding was closed to the public because he is a juvenile, officials say. The arraignment lasted more than 90 minutes and only those directly involved in the case, such as parents, were allowed entry.

Following the arraignment, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jacob Ford publicly stated that Gabriel Parker is the suspect. This is the first time his identity has been revealed. Officials have closely guarded details due to his age.

A grand jury returned an indictment on Tuesday, charging Parker with two counts of murder and fourteen counts of first-degree assault. The murder charges involve the deaths of 15-year-olds Bailey Holt and Preston Cope. The grand jury charges say the defendant "committed the offense of murder by firing a handgun into a crowd of people in the commons area of Marshall County High School, manifesting extreme indifference to human life."

Kentucky State Police Detective Jody Cash said the indictment "is the authority which allowed him to be charged as an adult." He confirmed that adult prosecutorial proceedings are underway.

A trial date is a long ways away at this time. Cash said the court will monitor the progress of the case through continued status hearings. This may include whether there are motions to be heard, whether discovery has been complied with, whether there are pleas to be entered and whether there are court documents to be filed.

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jacob Ford said it will be a lengthy process.

Cash said police have not and will not release where Parker is being detained. Juveniles remain in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice for as long as they are a minor by age, according to Cash, so for the court to move forward with adult proceedings doesn't change his status within the incarceration system.

Police are reviewing which court documents to release to the public.

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Nicole Erwin contributed to this story.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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