Franklin man faces murder trial

Published 10:54 am Friday, February 17, 2012

COURTLAND—A former Franklin man serving 23 years in prison for shooting another man will have a jury trial next week for a murder.

Eric Owen Parker, 22, is accused of shooting Courtney Blunt at Southampton Meadows Mobile Home Park on April 20, 2007, while trying to rob him.

In 2010, Parker was found guilty for the March 23, 2009, wounding of Brandon Keith Turner, 20. Parker was sentenced to Buckingham Correctional Facility in Dillwyn.

Parker’s half-brother, Troy Mayfield of Newsoms, was sentenced to life in prison for Turner’s death. Parker shot Turner in the eye in 2008 in Courtland. It’s believed Mayfield shot Turner to keep him from testifying against Parker.

Turner was to be a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Darris Lamont Thomas, the man accused in the August 6, 2007, shooting death of 21-year-old Harley Bethea.

Thomas entered guilty pleas to voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm by a felon. He was originally charged with first-degree murder.

Bethea was on his way home from a trip to the store when he was struck in the chest by a bullet fired from a large-caliber handgun. He died about 100 feet from his front door.