EXCLUSIVE: Judge doesn't buy suspect's self-defense ploy in fatal shooting of GSU grad

7:43 PM, Sep 5, 2012   |    comments
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  • Preliminary hearing for murder suspect Emery Parrish in shooting death of Ayokunle Lumpkin
  • Atlanta Police Homicide Detective Scott Demeester
  • Murder suspect Emery Parrish
  • Former GSU soccer star Ayokunle Lumpkin
  • Assistant Fulton County District Attorney Jack Barrs
  • Fulton County Superior Court Judge Karen Woodson
  • Family of shooting victim Ayokunle Lumpkin
  • Atlanta defense attorney Dennis Scheib
    

ATLANTA - Remember the Atlanta man who turned himself in to police claiming self-defense in the shooting death of a former Georgia State University soccer star?

Well on Wednesday a Fulton County Superior Court Judge didn't buy his argument and refused to throw out murder charges or grant bond for 30-year-old Emery Parrish.

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Parrish admits shooting and killing 23-year-old GSU grad Ayokunle Lumpkin early on the morning of August 19th.

He claims he lost control of his brother's car while driving along Melton Avenue just before 2 am.

He crashed through a fence and into a parked car at a home where police say 15 to 20 young people were attending a party.

Parrish says he fired his pistol only after a drunken mob physically attacked him and then fled for his life.

His brother's car was found abandoned not far away a few hours later.

Parrish turned himself in at Atlanta Police Headquarters five days after the shooting.

Lumpkin's family sat silently, his mother and sister crying, as they listened to testimony at a preliminary hearing in Fulton County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Atlanta Police Homicide Detective Scott Demeester revealed several new details about the case while on the witness stand.

He said evidence showed Parrish drove off from the party accident and then stopped about 200 feet away, possibly to try and remove the car's smashed front bumper, according to some witnesses.

Several people attending the party admitted chasing down Parrish's car to try and keep him from leaving.

Victim Ayokunle Lumpkin called 911 and could be heard telling someone they needed to stay until police arrived.

Det. Demeester said Lumpkin can also be heard telling the 911 operator that Parrish was on the phone, "calling his homeboys to come help him out."

Demeester also testified that several witnesses claim Parrish started the fight by grabbing the throat of a woman who confronted him over hitting her car.

Also, that shooting victim Lumpkin then got physical with Parrish to keep him from choking the woman.

That's when Parrish fired at least three shots, as evidenced by shell casings found at the scene and in Parrish's car.

Demeester said the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office told him Lumpkin died from one gunshot to the chest.

He also testified that Lumpkin appeared to have been shot outside Parrish's car, which conflicts with the gunman's written statement claiming it happened inside the vehicle.

That legal point could prove crucial to a self-defense claim.

The detective also said some witnesses claimed Parrish, himself, may have been outside the car when he opened fire.

He even suggested Parrish may have been involved in a second hit-and-run accident while fleeing the shooting and just before abandoning his brother's car.

Demeester added that they found a small bag of cocaine in the abandoned car, possibly another motive for Parrish to flee since he has at least seven prior drug convictions.

He admitted police first took out a warrant for Parrish's brother, 36-year-old Tyrone Jackson, since the car was registered in his name and since some witnesses at the party first picked Jackson's photo out of a lineup identifying him as the killer.

The detective added that several witnesses later picked Emery Parrish's photo out of a lineup as well.

He said they have yet to find the pistol that was used, believed to be a .40 cal. Glock semi-automatic based on recovered shell casings.

Parrish's defense attorney, Dennis Scheib, revealed that Parrish claims to have thrown the weapon into a wooded area shortly after the shooting.

Scheib tried to get detective Demeester to support Parrish's claim that he was only protecting his life after being physically attacked by a drunken mob.

Scheib: "How many people actually got physical with him, according to the statements? Was it 2, 3, 4 5?"

Demeester: "I'd say based off the statements there was anywhere between two to three people."

Scheib: "Two or three people? They were pushing him, tearing at his clothes and hitting him, weren't they?"

Demeester: "Didn't mention anything about tearing at the clothes or hitting him, just pushing and shoving."

In a rare move, the admitted gunman then took the stand himself, not to plead self-defense, but to promise he would not flee if the judge granted him a $50,000 bond, an ankle monitor and house arrest.

But Assistant Fulton County District Attorney Jack Barrs argued Parrish was a flight risk with a long criminal history.

He asked Parrish about that under cross-examination.

"Does it sound accurate that you've been arrested 23 times?" Barrs asked.

"Possibly so," Parrish replied.

He also admitted being arrested on several new drug charges while still on probation for previous heroin, cocaine and marijuana convictions.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Karen Woodson wasted no time denying bond.

She also refused to drop most of the charges, sending Parrish's murder case to a grand jury for indictment.

Meanwhile, defense attorney Scheib once again made a public appeal to anyone who was at the party to come forward with any cell phone video of what happened to see whose side of the story it might support.

Even though Detective Demeester testified that at least one witness took phone pictures of the license plate on Parrish's car, he said he has not found any video of the fight and shooting so far.

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