Daniel Parker, 27, was convicted of first-degree murder in Riley County District Court Thursday for the death of Frederick Beverly in 2012. He was also convicted of criminally discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling.
Beverly, 21, was killed in the early morning of New Year’s Day 2012 by a bullet Parker fired from his M4 rifle that is believed to have ricocheted off of a metal fence and hit Beverly.
Parker testified in court that after an altercation with members of Beverly’s motorcycle club, Assassin Street Rydaz, at the Last Chance bar in Aggieville on New Year’s Eve 2011, he left the bar with his wife to go back to their Junction City apartment. Parker said that he was still angry about the altercation when he got home, and he drove back to Manhattan to send a message to the club. Parker had his rifle with him and found the motorcycle club’s after-party at 1827 Fair Lane off of Fort Riley Boulevard.
Parker said he did not see Beverly manning an entrance gate to the clubhouse and aimlessly fired 20-27 bullets, one of them hitting Beverly between the eyebrows. Parker said he didn’t know exactly why he did it, but he said the post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered after his second deployment to Iraq was a factor that affected him.
Parker also said he was intoxicated during the crime, but Division III Judge David Stutzman said voluntary intoxication was not a defense.
Prosecuting attorney Barry Disney said the state charged Parker with first-degree murder because Kansas statute allows for it if the felony act committed is inherently dangerous. Parker’s unlawful firing of a semi-automatic rifle in the city met that standard. The state didn’t have to prove Parker intentionally killed Beverly, just that he killed him. The lesser charges, which were included in the first-degree murder charge, were second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Jurors were instructed they could convict Parker of the lesser charges only if they concluded Parker wasn’t guilty of the first-degree murder.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour before convicting Parker. He faces a mandatory life sentence, with eligibility for parole after 20 years. Disney said that Parker’s PTSD diagnosis could play a role in the sentencing for his criminal discharge of a firearm conviction. Parker sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 7.