Talk­a­tive pet par­rot could hold the key to solv­ing sus­pected Michi­gan murder

The Dominion Post - - World - UNITED STATES

The dead man had been shot five times and was found ly­ing on the floor of his bed­room, near his wife, who had one gun­shot wound but was still breath­ing. Glenna Du­ram later told de­tec­tives she could re­mem­ber noth­ing of what had hap­pened be­fore she awoke in hos­pi­tal. But there is one po­ten­tial wit­ness who is talk­ing – the cou­ple’s pet par­rot.

Pros­e­cut­ing lawyers in Michi­gan are con­sid­er­ing whether the squawks of Bud, an African grey, may be used as ev­i­dence in the forth­com­ing murder trial of Du­ram, 48, who is ac­cused of killing hus­band Martin in what po­lice have char­ac­terised as a murder and an at­tempted suicide.

The ques­tion of what Bud knows was first raised weeks af­ter the sus­pected murder, when the par­rot be­gan recit­ing snatches of what sounded like a do­mes­tic dis­pute. Own­er­ship of the bird had passed to Martin Du­ram’s for­mer wife, Christina Keller, who said she recog­nised one of the peo­ple the par­rot was mim­ick­ing.

‘‘He’s us­ing Marty’s voice,’’ she told a lo­cal TV sta­tion.

First, she said, she heard the par­rot shout: ‘‘Get out!’’ Then he mim­icked an­other voice, ap­par­ently a woman’s, say­ing: ‘‘Where will I go?’’ The par­rot then said: ‘‘Don’t f ..... g shoot!’’

‘‘I be­lieve with all my heart that those are the last words of Marty,’’ Keller said. ‘‘He was there to see it all hap­pen and heard it. It im­printed in his brain. He can’t let it go, and that’s aw­ful.’’

Keller at­tempted to film Bud dur­ing one of these per­for­mances, and man­aged to catch the fi­nal line.

A lo­cal TV sta­tion sent a crew to film the par­rot. They re­ported that the bird did not per­form for the cam­era, a fact that seems likely to di­min­ish any hopes prose­cu­tors might have har­boured of the bird tak­ing the stand.

Lawyers have cast doubt on the idea that the bird’s squawks could prove use­ful in the murder trial, say­ing it would be im­pos­si­ble to tell if Bud was mim­ick­ing heated ex­changes from the mo­ments be­fore a murder, or some­thing seen on TV.

An African grey par­rot’s squawks could be used as ev­i­dence.

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