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