The wife of a Fort Riley soldier accused of murder testified under cross-examination Wednesday that her husband had psychological problems around the time the crime was committed.
Daniel Parker, 26, is accused by the state of shooting a semi-automatic M4 rifle at a motorcycle clubhouse off of Fort Riley Boulevard. One of the bullets alleged to have been fired by Parker killed Frederick Beverly, 21, who was manning an entrance gate for an after-party in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2012.
Parker is facing charges of first-degree murder and criminal discharge of a firearm in an occupied dwelling.
Questioned by defense counsel Ron Evans, Parker’s wife, Alla Parker, testified in Judge David Stutzman’s courtroom that after Parker’s second deployment in the military, he had depression and erratic behavior. Prosecuting attorney Barry Disney had called Mrs. Parker to the stand to ask her about the timing of her husband’s return home following the shooting.
Disney rested the prosecution’s case following the completion of Mrs. Parker’s testimony. The defense is expected to begin presenting its case Thursday.
Alla Parker married Daniel Parker in December 2009 after his first deployment and said he was fine. But she said things changed after he came back from his second deployment. She said she was scared for other people because the war made her husband different.
She said she made the Army – for which her husband was a specialist – aware of Parker’s deteriorating mental state, but nothing manifested. Alla Parker said her husband would agree that he was depressed and needed help but wouldn’t take action, presumably because of pride and the fear of being discharged from the Army.
On New Year’s Eve 2011, Alla Parker went to Last Chance bar in Aggieville with Daniel Parker to celebrate the holiday. She said she came out of the restroom at one point and saw that her husband was having a verbal argument with members of the motorcycle club Assassin Street Rydaz. Beverly was a member.
The altercation was non-violent, but it had to be broken up twice before the group left to go to the old carwash clubhouse at 1827 Fair Lane, where members planned to continue celebrating.
Beverly’s former girlfriend, Kimberly Arps, was partying at the bar with the group and testified Tuesday that she heard someone yell, “(Expletive) you guys. (Expletive) ASR.” Arps said she saw that the person who cursed the club was a white man.
Alla Parker told prosecutor Barry Disney that she and her husband left before the bar closed to go home to their Junction City apartment. She said Daniel Parker was angry about the altercation, but had calmed down by the time they got home.
When she went into the apartment, she said her husband stayed in their Chevy Impala on the phone. She said she checked back 20-30 minutes later and found Daniel Parker still in the car on the phone, so she went upstairs and went to bed. She said she woke up at 4 and he came home around 4:30.
At the Fair Lane clubhouse, Beverly acted to deter people under 21 from entering.
At 4 a.m., the people inside the clubhouse heard gunshots and found Beverly on the ground with a bullet wound in the middle of his forehead.
Beverly wasn’t shot directly. Dr. Altaf Hossain, performed the autopsy, testified that the bullet came at him at an angle. The theory presented in court was that during a round of fire, a bullet ricocheted off of a metal fence, hitting Beverly between the eyebrows.
Another witness, Thomas L. G. Price, a firearm and tool mark examiner with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said that based on the indentation of the bullet which hit Beverly, he believes it hit a hard surface before striking him.
Under questioning from Disney, Price said microscopy and firearm tests told him that the bullet fragments from the autopsy matched the shell left on the ground at the scene of the crime, which matched Daniel Parker’s M4 rifle found in a search of his apartment.
Disney said in his opening statements Tuesday that 20 bullets were fired at the clubhouse, the number that can be held in one magazine cartridge for the rifle.
Disney also said that a receipt from a gas station was found in Daniel Parker’s car. The receipt was time stamped around 4 that morning.
The defense will have an opportunity to present its case Thursday. Jurors are expected to begin deliberation by Thursday afternoon.