The murder trial of Fort Riley Soldier Daniel Parker drew to a conclusion Thursday afternoon in Riley County District Court.
After a brief deliberation, the jury found Parker guilty on charges of First Degree Murder and Discharge of a Firearm at an occupied building.
Parker shot and killed Kansas National Guardsman Frederick Beverley in the early morning hours of January 1st 2012.
Sentencing for Parker is set for October 7 at 2 p.m. in Riley County District Court.
Earlier examination and cross-examination:
Thursday marked day 4 of the trial and included three witnesses for the defense. Court proceedings began when Defense Attorney, Robert Evans called Daniel Parker to the stand. Evans questioned Parker about his military history. Parker enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2008 and served two tours of duty in Iraq. While on his second deployment, Parker said he experienced times of heavy combat and regularly witnessed “death and violence.” He added that he grew “more and more distant from sanity.” At one point, Parker had a mental breakdown while training Iraqi soldiers, and described the incident as “out of character.”
When Parker returned from active duty, Parker said he was antisocial, and “didn’t know how to integrate into society”. He began drinking heavily and grew apart from his wife and family. He acknowledged that he needed help, but didn’t immediately seek any because he didn’t want to let his family and friends see him as “broken”. Parker was preparing to enter a Substance Abuse Program when he was arrested for the murder.
Prosecuting State Attorney, Barry Disney began his cross-examination by asking Parker about the night of the shooting.
After an altercation at Rusty’s with members of a Manhattan motorcycle club called “Assassin Street Rydaz”(ASR), Parker said he left the bar and drove back to his apartment in Junction City to avoid further confrontation.
Growing increasingly angry about the altercation, He decided to drive back to Manhattan alone “to send ASR a message”. He then took his rifle and shot 27 rounds into the ASR club house. Frederick Beverly was killed during the shooting. Parker said he was unaware that anyone was in the clubhouse at the time of the shooting, and “felt sick” when he found out 4 days later.
Dr. David Hough, a clinical psychologist, was the next witness called to the stand and said he diagnosed Parker with PTSD after extensive evaluation. Hough noted that before his service in the Army, Parker had a history of recklessness, and erratic, aggressive behavior. Hough believes Parker developed a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during his 2nd tour of duty.
During Disney’s cross-examination, Hough said he was confident Parker knew what he was doing and the legal implications, but acted anyway.
Parker’s mother, Vicky Parker, was the last witness called to the stand. She stated that her son was very withdrawn and “very paranoid” after his second tour.