Grand jury clears Walker County deputy of charges, victim's wife aiming for civil suit
Walker County Deputy John Chandler will not face charges for killing a man on New Year’s Day. A grand jury cleared deputy John Chandler of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Mark Parkinson though his kitchen window.
Channel 3 spoke to Parkinson’s wife Diana by phone on Thursday. She says she and her attorney Stephen Fuller expected the Grand Jury to clear Chandler. Taking her attorney's advice, she took a trip to be away when the verdict came down.
“I don’t have my husband anymore and it’s just not the same life without him,” Mrs. Parkinson says.
Three hours after Mrs. Parkinson and her husband watched the ball drop on TV. She says all of a sudden their dogs started barking.
“We thought it was our son-in-law because he has been giving my daughter all kinds of problems and then harassing all of us,” she explained. “That’s why Mark grabbed the gun.”
But it wasn't their son-in-law outside. It wa Chandler, who was responding to a 911 call. That call came from their daughter's mother-in-law, Dorothy Gass, who claimed she received a threatening call from the Parkinson's daughter, who was living with them at the time.
Chandler told investigators he announced he was with the Walker County Sheriff's Office when he saw Parkinson in the house with a gun.
“We just heard the dogs barking so we heard nothing,” Mrs. Parkinson said. “We couldn't see outside.”
Chandler fired three shots through the kitchen window. Two shots went through the window above the sink. One of the bullets hit its target, hitting Parkinson's chest.
“He bled out in my arms I mean it was bad. My daughter is an ER nurse so I yelled for her [and] she came down there to try to do CPR, but it hit the carotid artery,” Mrs. Parkinson said. “We just had a few moments.”
Chandler's case was presented to a grand jury, which cleared him of any wrongdoing. The decision comes one month after a state judge dropped the charge against Gass for making a false report to 911.
READ MORE | UPDATE: Charges dropped against woman whose 911 call triggered police shooting
“I am so angry and so upset and so disappointed with the justice system,” said Mrs. Parkinson.
Mrs. Parkinson’s attorney, Stephen Fuller, plans to take the case to civil court.
“A man gets up at 3 o’clock in the morning because his dogs are barking. He turns on the lights. He has a weapon because he’s defending his own house. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He gets shot through the window and he’s killed; that’s a problem and it needs to be fixed,” Fuller says. “It certainly is not an accident. I mean a gun was fired at someone with intent to kill him.”
Channel 3 reached out to Chandler through the Walker County Sheriff’s Office. Chandler could not comment based on the advice of his attorney.
Sheriff Steve Wilson sent this statement to Channel 3 moments later:
“We recognize the death of Mark Parkinson was a tragic, tragic event. The Sheriff’s Office concurs with the Grand Jury report and supports the facts that Deputy Chandler’s use of deadly force was justified, according to Georgia law and Sheriff’s Office policy.”
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