Conviction dismissed of man accused of killing police officer
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A convicted killer is soon scheduled to be set free despite having decades left to serve on his prison sentence.
Demarcus Parker,29, was found guilty in 2020 of fatally shooting Forest City Officer Oliver Johnson in West Memphis who was 25 at the time.
But the crime took place back in 2018. Violation of the speedy trial law is why a man with a lengthy rap sheet will walk, scot-free.
“It’s just, it’s sad. It’s just so sad. I don’t understand,” said Serenia Curtis, Officer Johnson’s Aunt.
Nearly five years ago in West Memphis, you may remember a community mourning the death of 25-year-old Officer Oliver Jonhson. The off-duty cop was hit by a stray bullet in his home at the Meadows Apartments while playing video games with his two daughters.
“My nephew was dead today, because of another young man, who somehow lost his way, and we need to do more,” said Curtis.
Demarcus Donnell Parker was arrested and charged with Johnson’s murder in 2018 but did not face trial until September 2020. He was found guilty and received two life sentences plus an additional 835 years.
But According to an Arkansas Supreme Court Judge, in the 405 days that Parker was denied a speedy trial, his constitutional rights were violated.
“Excuse my language but I am pissed off. Justice wasn’t served,” said West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon.
Arkansas law requires the defendant to be brought to trial within 12 months. West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon accuses the state’s legal team of dropping the ball.
“It is all because our prosecutors are doing shabby work. They haven’t just started doing shabby work, they’ve been doing shabby work and I’m calling them to the carpet,” said McClendon.
Parker will get a clean start and his dozens of convictions including for first-degree murder have been vacated. Mayor Mclendon hopes he comes back rehabilitated.
“I’m hoping and praying that this young man has learned from it. I’m hoping that God touches his heart and his mind that makes him go in a different direction,” said McClendon.
At last check, Demarcus Parker is still listed as an inmate in a maximum security unit in Tucker, Arkansas.
Monday, the city of West Memphis and police officials plan to meet with prosecutors on the case to figure out how to reconsider and prevent this from happening again.
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