Man, 32, accused of killing relative

Sister-in-law, 14, in N.Y. was to testify against him in sexual abuse case

July 25, 2002|By Johnathon E. Briggs and Dennis O'Brien | Johnathon E. Briggs and Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A Randallstown man was arrested yesterday by Baltimore County police in the weekend shooting death in Binghamton, N.Y., of his 14-year-old sister-in-law, who had been scheduled to testify against him here in a child sexual abuse case, authorities said.

Vernon E. Parker Jr., 32, of the 4300 block of Breeders Cup Circle was arrested just after 5 a.m. - accused of killing Devin Spears, who was shot to death late Saturday with her mother, Valerie Spears, 50, at their home in Binghamton.

Binghamton police said Parker, charged with second-degree murder, was one of two armed men seen fleeing the Spears residence as a patrolman responded about 11 p.m. to investigate a series of 911 hang-up calls there.

According to the felony complaint issued for his arrest, Parker has not been charged in the mother's death. Police said Parker is married to Spears' eldest daughter.

Marsden S. Coates, Parker's lawyer, said he was "stunned" by Parker's arrest. He said Parker is married with two children and has worked as a truck driver for about two years and as a bounty hunter for the past six months.

Last fall, said Baltimore County Deputy State's Attorney Stephen R. Bailey, Parker was charged with child abuse and a third-degree sex offense, both felonies, in incidents that occurred when Devin came from Binghamton to Parker's home to help care for his newborn baby.

The case had been scheduled for trial Tuesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Bailey said that Parker's wife, Tammie, had a baby in October and that Devin had agreed to visit to help her older sister take care of the infant.

While being driven back to Binghamton after the visit, Devin told her sister she had been abused and they reported it to Baltimore County police, Bailey said.

He said the abuse occurred in the couple's home while Parker was alone with Devin.

Court records show that when county police filed charges, Parker was given a summons - not arrested - and thus not required to post bail before trial.

Bailey said the trial was originally scheduled for this spring but was postponed.

"Obviously those charges will have to be dismissed because the victim is deceased," Bailey said.

Coates said that he was planning to request a jury trial for Parker in Circuit Court on Tuesday and that Parker and his wife were going to testify in his defense.

Parker had volunteered to take a lie detector test for police investigating the child abuse charges, Coates said, but he discouraged his client from doing so unless police detectives agreed to drop their investigation if he passed it.

Bailey said an officer and a prosecutor from Binghamton were in the Baltimore area over the weekend, conducting an investigation related to the slayings. Coates said police searched Parker's house.

Coates said he has not talked to his client since the arrest.

District Court records show that Parker received probation before judgment in 1996 on a charge of carrying a handgun. He was required to perform 85 hours of community service, records show.

Binghamton police said they are continuing to search in Maryland and New York for a second suspect, identified as Robert Williams Jr., 34.

Williams was last seen driving a 1986 maroon Oldsmobile with Maryland tags. Police said he may be a licensed bounty hunter and carry police-style identification.

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