Marion Wilson And Donovan Corey Parks

Posted in Library of Congress, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on June 14, 2019

The state of Georgia is planning to execute Marion Wilson Jr. He was convicted of the murder of Donovan Corey Parks on March 28, 1996. Mr. Wilson’s co-defendant, Robert Earl Butts was executed May 4, 2018. If you want more details, read the information below. The first account of the murder is a Press Release from the GA Attorney General.

“The evidence at trial showed that on the night of March 28, 1996, the victim, Donovan Corey Parks, entered a local Wal-Mart to purchase cat food, leaving his 1992 Acura Vigor parked in the fire lane directly in front of the store. Witnesses observed Wilson and Robert Earl Butts standing behind Parks in one of the store’s checkout lines and, shortly thereafter, speaking with Parks beside his automobile. A witness overheard Butts ask Parks for a ride, and several witnesses observed Wilson and Butts entering Parks’s automobile, Butts in the front passenger seat and Wilson in the back seat. Minutes later, Parks’s body was discovered lying face down on a residential street. Nearby residents testified to hearing a loud noise they had assumed to be a backfiring engine and to seeing the headlights of a vehicle driving from the scene.”

“On the night of the murder, law enforcement officers took inventory of the vehicles in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Butts’s automobile was among the vehicles remaining in the lot overnight. Based upon the statements of witnesses at the Wal-Mart, Wilson was arrested. A search of Wilson’s residence yielded a sawed-off shotgun loaded with the type of ammunition used to kill Parks, three notebooks of handwritten gang “creeds,” secret alphabets, symbols, and lexicons, and a photo of a young man displaying a gang hand sign.”

“Wilson gave several statements to law enforcement officers and rode in an automobile with officers indicating stops he and Butts had made in the victim’s automobile after the murder. According to Wilson’s statements, Butts had pulled out a sawed-off shotgun, had ordered Parks to drive to and then stop on Felton Drive, had ordered Parks to exit the automobile and lie on the ground, and had shot Parks once in the back of the head. Wilson and Butts then drove the victim’s automobile to Gray where they stopped to purchase gasoline. Wilson, who was wearing gloves, was observed by witnesses and videotaped by a security camera inside the service station.”

“Wilson and Butts then drove to Atlanta where they contacted Wilson’s cousin in an unsuccessful effort to locate a “chop shop” for disposal of the victim’s automobile. Wilson and Butts purchased two gasoline cans at a convenience store in Atlanta and drove to Macon where the victim’s automobile was set on fire. Butts then called his uncle and arranged a ride back to the Milledgeville Wal-Mart where Butts and Wilson retrieved Butts’s automobile.”

“Wilson’s wholehearted commitment to antisocial and violent conduct from the age of 12 on not only serves as a heavy weight on the aggravating side of the scale, it also renders essentially worthless some of the newly proffered mitigating circumstance evidence. …For example, a number of Wilson’s teachers signed affidavits, carefully crafted by his present counsel, claiming that Wilson was “a sweet, sweet boy with so much potential,” a “very likeable child,” who was “creative and intelligent,” and had a “tender and good side.” One even said that Wilson “loved being hugged.” A sweet, sensitive, tender, and hug-seeking youth does not commit arson, kill a helpless dog, respond to a son’s plea to quit harassing his elderly mother with a threat “to blow . . . that old bitch’s head off,” shoot a migrant worker just because he “wanted to see what it felt like to shoot someone,” assault a youth detention official, shoot another man in the head and just casually walk off—all before he was old enough to vote. Without provocation Wilson shot a human being when he was fifteen, shot a second one when he was sixteen, and robbed and shot to death a third one when he was nineteen. …”

Same violent crime — one set to die while the other waits presents another view of the murder. It was published April 27, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by Rhonda Cook.

“Gang members Robert Earl Butts and Marion “Murdock” Wilson were together when they asked an off-duty correctional officer for a ride outside a Milledgeville Walmart the evening of March 28, 1996. They were together when, 16 minutes later, Butts shot Donovan Corey Parks with a sawed-off shotgun then left the 25-year-old lying face-down on a Milledgeville road. Together they doused Parks’ 1992 Acura Vigor with gasoline and set it on fire behind a Macon Huddle House. Just hours later, the pair applied for landscaping jobs. …”

“Donovan Parks, like his father, became a prison guard after graduating high school. But the younger Parks had plans, his father said. Instead of making corrections his career, he wanted to attend college. The night that he was killed, Parks, a Jehovah’s Witness, had just come home from Bible study at the Milledgeville Kingdom Hall, across the street from the house he shared with his recently-widowed father. Parks was still wearing his tie and checkered grey suit when he left for a quick trip to Walmart for cat food. According to then-District Attorney Fred Bright, Butts and Wilson also had gone to the Walmart, “shopping for somebody to kill.” Prosecutors said the two 18-year-olds were looking to make an impression on other members of their gang, FOLK Nation.”

“At 9:50 p.m., Parks handed a Walmart cashier $7.93 for four cans of cat food, tropical fish food, soap and cocoa butter. Behind him, Butts waited to pay for a 20-cent pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum. Butts worked with Parks at a local Burger King and he asked for a ride for him and Wilson. A single-barrel sawed-off shotgun hidden in the sleeve of his Colorado Rockies jacket, Butts got in the front passenger seat. Wilson climbed in the back after Parks cleared out a spot for him to sit. Minutes later, on street dotted with pre-fabricated houses, Wilson grabbed Parks’ necktie, cinching it so tightly it later had to be cut off. Butts ordered Parks out of the car and shot him in the back of the head, leaving the officer face-down in his own blood and brain matter. …”

“Moments after Parks was shot, his father, came up on a body in the road but didn’t recognize his son because of the damage done by the large buckshot. The father called the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office to report that someone had been hit by a car. Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who was the chief deputy in Baldwin County at the time, was able to identify the dead man only by matching the initials in the dead man’s class ring to the roster of seniors at Baldwin High School in 1990; there was only one person with the initials DCP.”

“Wilson was arrested four days later at the courthouse when he came to an appointment related to a DUI conviction. Butts was hiding in his grandmother’s bedroom closet when authorities came for him. Detectives found the shotgun under Wilson’s mattress. Wilson’s girlfriend said she saw Butts hand him the weapon.”

“Talking to investigators Wilson blamed Butts for everything. He said he had nothing to prove because he was “chief enforcer” with the local FOLK Nation gang. “I’m as high (in the gang) as I can be. I ain’t got to go no higher. I ain’t got to do nothing to go no higher.” …”

“Butts, meanwhile, denied everything at first but then decided to testify at his trial and to lay it all on Wilson. Butts testified that it was Wilson’s idea to steal a car and it was Wilson who “snatched him out” of the car and took him to the back and shot him. “I was scared…” Butts testified. “I was really upset. And I was feeling, you know, kind of sick at the stomach.”

Mr. Wilson was convicted of the crime, and sentenced to death. There appears to be little doubt that he is guilty. In the appeals, attorneys made the traditional claim of ineffective counsel. “A federal judge granted Marion Wilson Jr. the right to appeal part of his case, in which Wilson will be able to argue that his trial attorneys didn’t properly investigate whether they could build a defense around evidence that Wilson’s early life influenced how he acted. … In Wilson’s federal case, Wilson claimed prosecutors switched their stories to claim that both Wilson and Butts had pulled the trigger. (U.S. District Judge Marc ) Treadwell rejected those and most other arguments. … The court ruling suggests that Wilson was born to a drug-using mother who neglected him, was abandoned by his father, and was physically abused. The family moved frequently, and Wilson saw one of his mother’s boyfriend hold a gun to her head. … Wilson committed his first serious felony at age 12 when he set a duplex apartment on fire in Glynn County while the neighbors were home. At 15, he saw a passing Mexican migrant and told friends he was going to rob the man and “wanted to see what it felt like to shoot somebody,” witnesses said. After the shooting, he attacked a worker at a regional youth development center. A day after he shot a dog for no reason, he was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. A month after that, he shot a man three times. … In a recording played during sentencing, Wilson admitted he was the “chief enforcer” of the Milledgeville FOLKS gang. … In January 1996, Wilson wrote from prison to another gang member: “You know it’s all about that Money, Mackin, Murder, and that should be our main priority; We should be making more money … and murdering all that oppose our nation, but only when necessary.”

During appeals, attorney’s sought “DNA testing on a necktie that was introduced as evidence during their client’s trial in the murder case of Parks … The court also pointed out that there was evidence and eyewitness testimony that Wilson had on gloves on the night of the murder. A videotape showed he was wearing gloves on the night of the crimes. “Accordingly, the lack of his DNA or the presence of Butts’s DNA on the tie would not acquit defendant (Wilson),” the court ruled.”

One appeal led to a bit of esoteric legal geekery. “Should the court look to the state Superior Court judge’s lengthy order, which gives detailed reasons as to how certain findings and decisions were reached? Or should the court look only at the state Supreme Court’s one-word decision — “Denied” — when it declined to hear an appeal of the Superior Court judge’s ruling. … This is an important distinction because federal courts can step in to correct a state court conviction when there is a finding the state court decision upholding that conviction misapplied clearly established U.S. Supreme court law or was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. In death cases, if the 11th Circuit only has to rely on the state Supreme Court’s one-word decision declining to hear an appeal of the lower-court judge’s opinion, then the federal appeals court can come up with its own reasons as to why the death sentence should continue to be upheld. The court could not offer such speculation, however, if it must look at the detailed ruling by the lower-court judge. Instead, the appeals court would only review the reasonableness and adequacy of the state court judge’s ruling.” … The 11th Circuit, in a decision written by Judge Bill Pryor, ruled that his court only had to look at a terse, summary opinion by the Georgia Supreme Court when it declines to hear an appeal of a lengthy and detailed ruling by a state Superior Court judge.”

The execution is scheduled for June 20, 2019, for a crime committed March 28, 1996. Historic photographs are from The Library of Congress. UPDATE Marion Wilson has ordered his final meal one medium thin-crust pizza with everything, 20 buffalo wings, one pint of butter pecan ice cream, some apple pie and grape juice. UPDATE Marion Wilson Jr. died at 9:52 pm, June 20, 2019.

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