Drug dealer gets 51 years for wound­ing LR man

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - JOHN LYNCH

A 40-year-old ad­mit­ted drug dealer was sen­tenced to 51 years in prison Thursday night for shoot­ing a busi­ness as­so­ci­ate at the vic­tim’s Lit­tle Rock home last year.

But a Pu­laski County jury ac­quit­ted Calvin Da­mone Blair III of the most se­ri­ous charges against him, ag­gra­vated rob­bery and ag­gra­vated res­i­den­tial bur­glary — a ver­dict that dis­counted claims by the vic­tim and his wife that they’d been at­tacked by Blair and a sec­ond man who had forced their way into the house.

The eight women and four men of the jury spent about 90 min­utes Thursday to reach their ver­dict, find­ing Blair guilty of first-de­gree bat­tery, theft by re­ceiv­ing and pos­ses­sion of a firearm by a felon — all of the charges he ad­mit­ted to in his 47 min­utes of tes­ti­mony.

They also cleared Blair of in­volve­ment in the shoot­ing of the cou­ple’s dog, which sur­vived its wounds.

Blair faced a max­i­mum 102-year prison sen­tence. He could have been sent to prison for life on the rob­bery and bur­glary charges.

At the one-day trial be­fore Cir­cuit Judge Chris Pi­azza, ju­rors heard two vastly dif­fer­ing ac­counts of what hap­pened the night of Oct. 16 at the South State Street home of Ti­mothy and Bev­erly Parker.

Deputy pros­e­cu­tor Rob­bie Jones told ju­rors that all of the phys­i­cal ev­i­dence, from the bul­let cas­ings found in the home to the blood trails in and out­side the house, sup­ported the Park­ers’ story of two gun-wield­ing as­sailants.

Blair’s tes­ti­mony was “full of lies” and “com­plete non­sense,” Jones said, telling ju­rors that the Park­ers had no rea­son to de­ceive them.

Dis­crep­an­cies in the Park­ers’ sto­ries were mi­nor, likely be­cause they told their side to po­lice in the im­me­di­ate wake of the shoot­ing and break-in, the pros­e­cu­tor said.

Bev­erly Parker spoke with de­tec­tives in a po­lice car out­side her home, not know­ing whether her hus­band was go­ing to live or whether her dog had sur­vived, Jones said.

Tim Parker had been in­ter­viewed while in the hospi­tal after try­ing to fight off the men in­vad­ing his home and sur­viv­ing two gun­shots, ac­cord­ing to the pros­e­cu­tor.

In the ver­sion of­fered by po­lice and prose­cu­tors, Tim Parker was a 50-year-old auto me­chanic and used car dealer who had served time in federal prison nine years ago for crack-co­caine traf­fick­ing.

Parker only knew Blair as “Booga­loo,” a man who reg­u­larly sold cars for him or ar­ranged sales in ex­change for in­for­mal com­mis­sions.

Blair knew Parker had just been paid in cash for a car, so he and co-de­fen­dant Ken­neth De­wayne Matthews tried to rob him, Jones said. Matthews, 28, is sched­uled to stand trial in Novem­ber. Dur­ing a late-night visit to the Parker home, Blair got the older man to step out­side to talk about a car deal, then he and Matthews, both armed, am­bushed Parker, ac­cord­ing to the pros­e­cu­tion.

The vic­tim was shot try­ing to keep the in­trud­ers from get­ting inside the house, Jones said. The first shot pierced Parker’s back and ex­ited his chest, knock­ing him to the floor in the home’s en­try­way. A sec­ond gun­shot grazed his chest.

Jones said the men then went into the cou­ple’s bed­room and ac­costed Parker’s wife, de­mand­ing at gun­point any money and drugs in the house. Or­dered by Blair to go and fin­ish off Parker, Matthews ended up shoot­ing the cou­ple’s 160-pound dog Zeus, a mas­tiff-like Ku­vasz, when the an­i­mal tried to pro­tect Parker, Jones said.

In that po­lice ver­sion, the wounded Parker, who had pre­tended to be dead, was able to get to his truck where he mim­icked the sound of po­lice on the scene.

To make the rob­bers think law en­force­ment had ar­rived, Parker called out re­peat­edly, “po­lice, shoot them, po­lice, shoot them,” which scared the rob­bers who fled empty-handed, a tac­tic that deputy pros­e­cu­tor Sam Jack­son told ju­rors was “bril­liant” and likely saved the Park­ers’ lives. Po­lice ar­rived to find Tim Parker col­lapsed in the street in front of his house.

But in Blair’s ac­count, Parker was a mar­i­juana dealer who pro­voked the de­fen­dant into shoot­ing him by try­ing to steal a 10-pound bag of mar­i­juana from Blair while caus­ing him to be­lieve his life was in dan­ger, de­fense at­tor­ney Kent Krause told ju­rors.

“It was the … words, ‘shoot him, shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.’ That is the em­ploy­ment of deadly phys­i­cal force that trig­gered Mr. Blair to be­lieve his life was in dan­ger,” Krause told ju­rors. “[Blair] was com­pletely within his right to use deadly phys­i­cal force. Mr. Parker had no right to keep … or swin­dle Mr. Blair out of his mar­i­juana.”

Parker’s and his wife’s tes­ti­monies were too dis­parate to be be­lieved, Krause said.

The way Blair told it, he was alone when he went to the Parker home, he never set foot inside the res­i­dence, and Parker ac­ci­den­tally shot his own dog while try­ing to shoot him.

Blair told ju­rors he shot first, wound­ing Parker, but only after the older man had tried to steal 10 pounds of mar­i­juana from him, while call­ing out, “shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.”

Blair said Parker was his only source of Blue Dream mar­i­juana, telling ju­rors how he hadn’t found any­one else who could sup­ply him with the high­grade strain of mar­i­juana. Blair, ac­knowl­edg­ing a 2006 federal con­vic­tion for crack-co­caine traf­fick­ing, said he had been sell­ing mar­i­juana on the side while he worked to es­tab­lish his restau­rant at a convenience store on Asher Av­enue.

Blair tes­ti­fied that he’d bought 35 pounds of mar­i­juana from Parker in the week lead­ing up to the shoot­ing.

But it was the last 10-pound sale, made that same day, that brought him and Parker into con­flict, Blair tes­ti­fied. He said he’d bought the drugs from Parker that morn­ing, pay­ing him $25,000 at $2,500 per pound. But it wasn’t un­til that evening, when he was go­ing to fill a 1½-pound or­der, that he opened the pack­ag­ing and re­al­ized he’d been sold an in­fe­rior strain.

He then called Parker to say he was com­ing to see him but didn’t say why. He said he took the mar­i­juana with him to get Parker to either give him his money back, re­place the in­fe­rior prod­uct with what he’d wanted, or give him more of the lesser mar­i­juana that he could sell to make his money back.

Blair said the men briefly ar­gued, but that Parker agreed to ex­change the mar­i­juana. Blair said he gave the bag of drugs to Parker, who took it and ran into the house, call­ing out “shoot him” re­peat­edly.

Blair said that’s when he shot Parker, fear­ing the older man was about to shoot him.

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