Fort Riley soldier Daniel Parker was sentenced to life in prison Monday for shooting a man while apparently firing at a nearby building.
Parker was convicted of first-degree murder for killing Frederick Beverly on Jan. 1, 2012.
The quirk in the case is that Parker wasn’t necessarily intending to kill the 21-year-old Beverly.
According to testimony from his jury trial in August, Parker, 27, shot 20 rounds of ammunition from his M4 rifle at a converted carwash where the motorcycle club Assassin Street Rydaz was celebrating New Year’s Eve.
Beverly, a member of the club, was outside working as a bouncer for the party.
Investigators believe one of Parker’s bullets ricocheted off a fence, killing Beverly when the bullet struck him in the head.
Prosecuting attorney Barry Disney explained that the state charged Parker with first-degree murder because Kansas statutes allow it if a felony committed is inherently dangerous.
Disney said Parker’s unlawful firing of a semi-automatic rifle in the city met that standard, and that the state didn’t have to prove Parker killed Beverly intentionally to prove first-degree murder – only that the shooting caused the victim’s death.
Earlier that holiday night, some members of the club were involved in a fight with Parker at Last Chance bar in Aggieville.
After Parker drove home with his wife to Junction City, testimony indicated he returned to Manhattan and shot at the clubhouse from his car around 4 a.m.
Not knowing he killed someone, Parker left the clubhouse off Fort Riley Boulevard and, according to video surveillance, went to a gas station and purchased a cigar and some food before driving back home.
In the meantime, members of Assassin Street Rydaz had heard the gunfire and ran outside, where they found Beverly bleeding on the ground.
Parker was arrested four days later and was convicted of first-degree murder on Aug. 23 of this year.
Jurors in the case were instructed they could convict him of lesser charges (murder in the second degree or involuntary manslaughter) only if they concluded he wasn’t guilty of the first-degree murder.
Along with first-degree murder, Parker was also convicted of criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied dwelling.
Riley County District Court Judge David Stutzman sentenced Parker, who will be eligible for parole in 20 years.
He will also serve 59 months in prison concurrently with his life sentence for the criminal firearm charge.