Michelle Parker was sitting in the corridor of the seventh floor of the Bronx County Courthouse, reading a newspaper, when out of the corner of her eye she saw him walking in her direction. Dressed in a baggy suit and slip-on shoes, his hands cuffed behind his back, his braided hair hung limply from his head as he flashed a slight smirk. It was him, the man who killed her husband.
“Honestly, I could just jump on him,” she said. “He’s got no remorse.”
It’s been more than two years since Dezra George shot Timothy Parker in the lobby of his Bronx apartment building. He has confessed to the shooting on several occasions, yet his lawyer has pleaded not guilty on his behalf against the people’s charge of murder one.
Yesterday, George’s trial entered its third day, as the prosecution called on several key witnesses in the case against him. George is accused of being the triggerman, in a team of three, who ambushed Parker, as he was about to enter the elevator of his Mott Haven Housing Project home. The previous two suspects were convicted on various charges of murder, robbery and gun possession.
In a stuffy, dimly lit courtroom, the 12 jurors listened as Assistant District Attorney John Morabito called on a police officer and a coroner to establish the case against George. Detective William Fisher detailed the two confessions they had extracted from George, one in writing and one on videotape, in which George admits to shooting the 34-year-old Parker, a father of seven, on Nov. 9, 2001. Dr. Monica Smitty, the forensic pathologist, took the stand and testified that Parker died as a result of a bullet wound to his back, which traveled through his chest, piercing his left lung and his heart.
Parker had returned from a 14-month stint in prison in February and during his time on parole had secured a steady job at the Hunts Point Market. According to his wife, he has previously served in the Navy and was a model father and husband.
She has yet to recover from his death and said that she has not been able to hold a job and has spent most of her time caring for the children, including two that have threatened to kill themselves so they could be with their father. She said that she hoped the conviction of his killer would help her and the children move on.
However, physically getting George into the courtroom would prove a challenging task. George was arrested two days after the killing and was taken by police for questioning soon thereafter. It was there that George allegedly gave his first confession to Fisher’s commanding Sergeant.
“He’s giving it up,” Fisher’s superior told him, according to today’s testimony.
However, a few moments later, George was gone, having escaped from the police precinct. Because of the gaffe in securing the suspect, Fisher was docked three days vacation.
A month later, police got word that a man matching George’s description was seen in Detroit. In a joint task force with the Detroit police department, Fisher and his partners tracked down George, who was living under the identity of Jason Jackson. However, George managed to escape from the local cops and only after a lengthy chase by foot through the streets of Detroit, did Fisher finally catch George – this time for good.
In cross-examination, Defense Attorney Amy Attias asked the detective if the whole ordeal caused him have a special interest in the George case.
“I didn’t take anything personally,” Fisher replied. “It was just a job I had to do.”
“Did he say anything to you when you caught him in Detroit?” Attias inquired.
“He said ‘I feel you Fisher, I feel you.'”
“So now you guys are cool?”
“We’re not cool…he’s got his job and I’ve got mine.”
The prosecution is expected to rest tomorrow, as the defense will open its case. Attias said that her first witness to take the stand would most likely be George.
When he does, Parker’s widow plans to be there again, as she has for every day of every trial related to husband’s death, watching and listening from the nearly empty gallery. She said she waits for the day when it will all be over.
“Every day I pray that the jury will come back with a guilty verdict,” she said. “I need that…I need closure. As long as justice is done, it brings a lot of peace to me.”