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Defense Files Motion To Suppress Gabe Parker’s Statements After MCHS Shooting

Dave Thompson
Pool Photo

Attorneys representing accused Marshall County High School shooter Gabe Parker filed this week a motion to suppress statements he made to police following the shooting that killed two students and injured several others.  

Shortly after the shooting on January 23, 2018, detectives interviewed then-15-year-old Parker for nearly two hours, during which he is said to have admitted to opening fire on classmates. Detectives detailed the interview in testimony in Juvenile District Court on January 25, 2018

The defense says in the 21-page motion (read it below) that Parker’s statements must be suppressed because they were obtained in violation of his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and Sixth Amendment right to counsel. They also say police did not obtain a proper waiver of Parker’s Miranda rights and that his statements were made involuntarily and without parental notification.

The motion describes how police interacted with Parker after he was arrested and brought to the sheriff’s office for interrogation. It also describes how Parker’s mother was made aware of her son’s arrest during the chaotic morning and her attempt to get him connected with a lawyer. 

The defense notes in their conclusion that the U.S. Supreme Court has emphasized that admissions and confessions of juveniles require caution due to doubt of their reliability and trustworthiness. They argue that the detectives did not obtain a “knowing, intelligent, and voluntary Miranda waiver”, failed to comply with a state parental notification statute and refused to allow the admittance of an attorney sought by Parker’s family. 

Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Foust has until August 1st to file a response. He told WKMS News he doesn’t think the interview should be suppressed and takes “great exception” to the defense’s portrayal of facts. 

“I want to stress that they state them as facts,” Foust said. “They’re not facts until the judge says they’re facts from a legal standpoint. Some of the things they state are probably true. But we think that the evidence that we’ll presending shows that a lot of those things are blatantly untrue.”

Foust stressed that the judge will determine the facts in the suppression hearing scheduled for August 19 in Marshall Circuit Court. He said he expects the hearing to be lengthy. 

Parker is being tried as an adult on murder and assault charges. The trial in Christian Circuit Court is set for June 1, 2020

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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