Marshall Co. Court orders school shooting suspect’s case to remain in adult court
BENTON, KY (KFVS) - The Marshall County Circuit Court released an order on Friday, March 23 denying a motion to send the case of the Marshall County shooting suspect back to juvenile court
You can read the order below.
The court also released the Attorney General's response to a motion made to get the Marshall County high school shooting suspect's case moved back to juvenile court.
The suspect, Gabe Parker, was in court on Monday, March 12.
During the hearing, his attorneys made a move to get Parker's case moved to juvenile court and challenged the constitutionality of the automatic transfer statute, KRS 635.020(4).
On Friday, March 16, the Marshall County Circuit Court released the Attorney General's response to the motion.
"Following a thorough review of the Commonwealth's response, the Office of the Attorney General is satisfied that the response fully states the position of the Attorney General that KRS 635.020(4) is constitutional."
Read the full response below.
According to court documents, the Attorney General's Office will not file an additional pleading regarding this motion.
During the hearing on March 12, Parker's defense attorney, Tom Griffiths, said when they did an automatic transfer statute, it was unconstitutional to Parker and he should have a full hearing of eight factors.
"I feel very strongly that the juvenile court system is where juveniles should be and I believe the reason we have an entire juvenile court system is to have resources that exist just for cases, even serious cases," Griffiths said.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney James Ford said the automatic transfer statute is the law and they only had to find two out of the eight factors, which they did: the seriousness of the crime and it happening to people.
As for the families of the victims, they agreed.
"It's just prolonging what we really want to confirm, um, we believe he should be tried as an adult and we would obviously like not to see this be sent back to juvenile, so hopefully that will go in our favor," Tracy Tubbs, Bailey Holt's aunt, said.
No ruling came down on Monday about the transfer. Judge Jameson is giving the Attorney General's Office three weeks to respond, after that he will send down a ruling.
In the courtroom on Monday, March 12, Parker didn't speak and from what we saw, he didn't interact with his family in the courtroom.
Family members for both the victims and for Parker shed a few tears during the nearly hour-long court hearing.
The aunt of shooting victim Bailey Holt said hearings like this one set them back in the healing process.
"It is hard to and I don't mean this is as cruel, but it's hard to breathe the same air as him," Tracy Tubbs said, "but we are a very forgiving family. We have taken every day step by step, this kind of sets us back a bit."
Even though it's difficult, Tubbs said she and her family are there to give Bailey a voice.
If the judge approves the motion and Parker is found guilty, he would only be behind bars until he's 18.
However, if the judge doesn't approve it and Parker is found guilty, an area defense attorney said the jury can decide whether or not Parker's charges would run consecutively or concurrently.
"In the two murder cases, the maximum penalty he can receive would be life in prison and not eligible for parole for 25 years, so if those can run consecutive then, tentatively, he could be in jail for 50 years before he could ever see parole and I assume he will be convicted of the many assaults."
For the assaults, the attorney said Parker would face a minimum of 10 years and would have to serve eight-and-a-half years before parole.
Because Parker is a juvenile, he cannot be given the death penalty. According to court documents, he turned 16 on March 3.
Court documents regarding the case against the Marshall County High School shooting suspect were released on Thursday, March 1.
The documents were released after a Kentucky Supreme Court Judge denied a request to assign a new Judge Executive to the case.
The first document released was a search warrant from a trooper with the Kentucky State Police.
According to the warrant, Gabriel Parker, 15, is "on video committing the acts and confessed to the incident." The trooper wrote that Parker led detectives to the location of the firearm used in the crime.
Detectives said they recovered the firearm, spent shell casings, along with other items at the scene.
Heartland News talked to an area defense attorney and former judge who said he believes this case will be moved out of Marshall County.
"I don't think he's going to be able to get a fair trial here, so they are going to have to have another venue in which to hear this and it will probably be several counties away, maybe far enough away where people may have heard about it but don't know any of the parties involved," said Don Thomas.
Thomas went on to say that he believes the case will be moved not because he doesn't think the people of Marshall County are fair, but because everyone is so close to the case.
Read some of the court documents below.
Judge request in case
According to Marshall and Calloway County Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship, the chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court denied the motion for a new judge to the case.
He said they will not pursue a judge change any further at this point. The original request was made on Feb. 23.
Gabriel Parker's bond is set at $1.5 million cash only.
Parker of Hardin, Kentucky, faces two counts of murder and 14 counts of first-degree assault in connection with the shooting at Marshall County High School. He was arraigned in Marshall County Circuit Court on Friday, February 16.
In Kentucky, the charge of assault carries the same penalty as attempted murder.
According to Marshall County Assistant County Attorney Jason Darnall, Parker appeared in juvenile court and was ordered to be detained. He was transferred to a juvenile facility.
Darnell said his office felt the assault charges were the right way to go at this point because they carry the same penalties as attempted murder.
According to authorities, at 7:57 a.m. on Tuesday, January 23, the suspect, later identified as 15-year-old Gabriel Parker, entered Marshall County High School and began shooting with a handgun.
Police received the first 911 call at 7:59 a.m.
First responders arrived on the scene less than 10 minutes after the first call. The shooter was arrested at the school.
The extremely tight-knit community of Marshall County, Ky. was rocked to the core after that deadly shooting.
One student said they could never look at their school the same way again.
The investigation, which was led by the Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team with assistance from local and federal agencies, included looking into the alleged teenage shooter's home life, along with interviews with student witnesses and others in the are when it happened.
The entire school was treated as a "dynamic crime scene."
The Kentucky State Police Commissioner said the event struck the heart of Kentucky.
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