Franklin man will not be tried for murder

Published 11:13 am Wednesday, February 22, 2012

COURTLAND—A former Franklin man serving 23 years in prison for shooting another man will not be prosecuted in connection with a 2007 shooting death.

Southampton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke told Judge Carl E. Eason Jr. in Southampton County Circuit Court on Wednesday that the prosecution was concerned about some of the evidence in the case against Eric Owen Parker, 22, and the extent of his involvement in the April 20, 2007, death of Courtney Blount at Southampton Meadows Mobile Home Park.

“In this case, I have reviewed the evidence and have doubts as to whether the defendant is the killer, as well as whether I could put forward enough evidence to convict him,” Cooke said in a statement.

All four charges against Parker, including first-degree murder, robbery and two firearms charges, have been “nolle prossed,” meaning prosecutors can seek indictments at a later time if evidence becomes clearer, Cooke said.

In 2010, Parker was found guilty of the March 23, 2009, wounding of Brandon Keith Turner, 20. Parker was sentenced to the Buckingham County Correctional Center in Dilwyn.

Parker’s half-brother, Troy Mayfield of Newsoms, was sentenced to life in prison in 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.