Drug dealer gets 51 years for wounding LR man
A 40-year-old admitted drug dealer was sentenced to 51 years in prison Thursday night for shooting a business associate at…
A 40-year-old admitted drug dealer was sentenced to 51 years in prison Thursday night for shooting a business associate at the victim’s Little Rock home last year.
But a Pulaski County jury acquitted Calvin Damone Blair III of the most serious charges against him, aggravated robbery and aggravated residential burglary — a verdict that discounted claims by the victim and his wife that they’d been attacked by Blair and a second man who had forced their way into the house.
The eight women and four men of the jury spent about 90 minutes Thursday to reach their verdict, finding Blair guilty of first-degree battery, theft by receiving and possession of a firearm by a felon — all of the charges he admitted to in his 47 minutes of testimony.
They also cleared Blair of involvement in the shooting of the couple’s dog, which survived its wounds.
Blair faced a maximum 102-year prison sentence. He could have been sent to prison for life on the robbery and burglary charges.
At the one-day trial before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, jurors heard two vastly differing accounts of what happened the night of Oct. 16 at the South State Street home of Timothy and Beverly Parker.
Deputy prosecutor Robbie Jones told jurors that all of the physical evidence, from the bullet casings found in the home to the blood trails in and outside the house, supported the Parkers’ story of two gun-wielding assailants.
Blair’s testimony was “full of lies” and “complete nonsense,” Jones said, telling jurors that the Parkers had no reason to deceive them.
Discrepancies in the Parkers’ stories were minor, likely because they told their side to police in the immediate wake of the shooting and break-in, the prosecutor said.
Beverly Parker spoke with detectives in a police car outside her home, not knowing whether her husband was going to live or whether her dog had survived, Jones said.
Tim Parker had been interviewed while in the hospital after trying to fight off the men invading his home and surviving two gunshots, according to the prosecutor.
In the version offered by police and prosecutors, Tim Parker was a 50-year-old auto mechanic and used car dealer who had served time in federal prison nine years ago for crack-cocaine trafficking.
Parker only knew Blair as “Boogaloo,” a man who regularly sold cars for him or arranged sales in exchange for informal commissions.
Blair knew Parker had just been paid in cash for a car, so he and co-defendant Kenneth Dewayne Matthews tried to rob him, Jones said. Matthews, 28, is scheduled to stand trial in November.
During a late-night visit to the Parker home, Blair got the older man to step outside to talk about a car deal, then he and Matthews, both armed, ambushed Parker, according to the prosecution.
The victim was shot trying to keep the intruders from getting inside the house, Jones said. The first shot pierced Parker’s back and exited his chest, knocking him to the floor in the home’s entryway. A second gunshot grazed his chest.
Jones said the men then went into the couple’s bedroom and accosted Parker’s wife, demanding at gunpoint any money and drugs in the house. Ordered by Blair to go and finish off Parker, Matthews ended up shooting the couple’s 160-pound dog Zeus, a mastiff-like Kuvasz, when the animal tried to protect Parker, Jones said.
In that police version, the wounded Parker, who had pretended to be dead, was able to get to his truck where he mimicked the sound of police on the scene.
To make the robbers think law enforcement had arrived, Parker called out repeatedly, “police, shoot them, police, shoot them,” which scared the robbers who fled empty-handed, a tactic that deputy prosecutor Sam Jackson told jurors was “brilliant” and likely saved the Parkers’ lives. Police arrived to find Tim Parker collapsed in the street in front of his house.
But in Blair’s account, Parker was a marijuana dealer who provoked the defendant into shooting him by trying to steal a 10-pound bag of marijuana from Blair while causing him to believe his life was in danger, defense attorney Kent Krause told jurors.
“It was the … words, ‘shoot him, shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.’ That is the employment of deadly physical force that triggered Mr. Blair to believe his life was in danger,” Krause told jurors. “[Blair] was completely within his right to use deadly physical force. Mr. Parker had no right to keep … or swindle Mr. Blair out of his marijuana.”
Krause praised Blair for testifying, even though it required him to disclose his own federal cocaine-trafficking conviction.
Parker’s and his wife’s testimonies were too disparate to be believed, Krause said.
“[Blair] wanted to tell you exactly what happened,” the attorney said of his client. “Why Mr. Parker would go to all this trouble to tell all these lies to you? Because his wife called the police. What [Parker] immediately started to do is come up with a story … to keep himself out of the cross hairs of the law.”
The way Blair told it, he was alone when he went to the Parker home, he never set foot inside the residence, and Parker accidentally shot his own dog while trying to shoot him.
Blair told jurors he shot first, wounding Parker, but only after the older man had tried to steal 10 pounds of marijuana from him, while calling out, “shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.”
Blair said Parker was his only source of Blue Dream marijuana, telling jurors how he hadn’t found anyone else who could supply him with the high-grade strain of marijuana. Blair, acknowledging a 2006 federal conviction for crack-cocaine trafficking, said he had been selling marijuana on the side while he worked to establish his restaurant at a convenience store on Asher Avenue.
Blair testified that he’d bought 35 pounds of marijuana from Parker in the week leading up to the shooting.
But it was the last 10-pound sale, made that same day, that brought him and Parker into conflict, Blair testified. He said he’d bought the drugs from Parker that morning, paying him $25,000 at $2,500 per pound. But it wasn’t until that evening, when he was going to fill a 1½-pound order, that he opened the packaging and realized he’d been sold an inferior strain.
He then called Parker to say he was coming to see him but didn’t say why. He said he took the marijuana with him to get Parker to either give him his money back, replace the inferior product with what he’d wanted, or give him more of the lesser marijuana that he could sell to make his money back.
Blair said the men briefly argued, but that Parker agreed to exchange the marijuana. Blair said he gave the bag of drugs to Parker, who took it and ran into the house, calling out “shoot him” repeatedly.
Blair said that’s when he shot Parker, fearing the older man was about to shoot him.
He told jurors he ran away, abandoning the borrowed car he’d driven to the Parker home. He said he left the car because he didn’t want to give Parker a chance to shoot him while he was getting into the car.
Blair told jurors that he knew it was wrong and illegal for him to have a gun, but that he needed one to protect himself.
Police arrested him with a stolen gun, but it was not the one used in the shooting. Blair said he dismantled that first gun and threw the parts away. The stolen gun had been a gift from a friend, and he had not known it was stolen, Blair said.
Metro on 09/17/2017
Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Drug dealer gets 51 years for wounding LR man