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Commonwealth's Attorney Responds to Filing Against Judge in Marshall Shooting Case

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MATT MARKGRAF, WKMS
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Commonwealth's Attorney Mark Blankenship says his office should not step away from the case involving accused Marshall County High School shooter Gabe Parker because he said his office hasn’t done anything wrong.

The editor and publisher of The Paducah Sun has called for the judge and prosecutor overseeing the Marshall County High School shooting case to remove themselves. Lawyers for Paxton Media Group filed a writ on Tuesday alleging Circuit Court Judge Jamie Jameson interfered in the case involving the accused shooter, 15-year-old Gabe Parker.

The writ calls for the release of a video of the closed arraignment last Friday because Parker is being tried as an adult. It also calls for future proceedings to be open.

PMG’s lawyers claim that Jameson engaged in misconduct due to his relationship with the accused shooter’s mother, including trying to stop a police interview and acting out of his jurisdiction.

Jim Paxton, who is involved in thewrit filed by Paxton Media Group's lawyers on said in aninterview with WPSD Local 6 on Tuesday that both Jameson and Blankenship should step down from the case because of the questions raised in the writ.

"I think that that’s what we need at this point. I think we need a special prosecutor and a special judge to reassure the public about the integrity of this process," Paxton said.  

"We've got kids who were killed and we've got other kids who've been disfigured for life. And we've got a whole bunch of other kids who - best years of their lives had been taken from them by this. And those people are just morally and by virtue of the Constitution, they are entitled to a public, a fair and impartial prosecution of this case." Paxton said. He added that that's the reason why PMG's lawyers filed the writ, "that's our only motive in filing this action."

Paxton said the media's job is to be the eyes and ears of the public. By not allowing the media to take part in public proceedings, he said, the public is thus ultimately shut out.

Blankenship said Jameson’s office is entirely separate from his and sees no reason why he should step away.

"He’s insinuating that my office should not prosecute this case but he doesn’t allege any wrongdoing or misconduct by my office." Blankenship said. "My office and the judge's are completely separated and independent from each other- he’s in the judicial branch of government and I’m in the executive branch."

Blankenship said removing his office from the case would not be in favor of the victims.

“We’ve already met the parents, we’ve established a good relationship with the victims. My victim's advocate talks to these parents daily, I think it would be very harmful.” Blankenship said.

Blankenship said he doesn’t know if the allegations against Jameson are true.

The writ alleges that Jameson improperly closed Friday's arraignment hearing to the public. Blankenship said the decision to close the arraignment was due to the way the court interpreted a law.

He said Jameson interpreted a state law that pertains to minors being tried as adults differently than he would have. He said Jameson was still viewing the case as a juvenile matter. This is despite a grand jury indictment that determined otherwise.

The state statute referenced in the writ and by Blankenship reads “juveniles tried as adults in the Circuit Court shall be open to the public after the child has been indicted and arraigned.”

“I can see that why he thought ‘well we’re still in juvenile court because he hasn’t been arraigned.’ Now that’s an interpretation that’s somewhat new and different from my understanding.” Blankenship said.

 

Blankenship said he feels the arrangement could have opened after Parker’s defense attorney Tom Griffiths did not give reasonable ground to perform a mental evaluation. He said a video of the hearing should be released to the public.

 

Judge Jameson’s office has not responded to a request for comment. The Circuit Court Clerk’s office said they had no comment on the matter.

 
This story will be updated.

 
 
 

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.
Taylor is a recent Murray State University graduate where she studied journalism and history. When she's not reporting for WKMS, she enjoys creative writing and traveling. She loves writing stories that involve diversity, local culture and history, nature and recreation, art and music, and national or local politics. If you have a news tip or idea, shoot her an email at tinman1@murraystate.edu!
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