03/31/05 — Suspect brings weapon to court

View Archive

Suspect brings weapon to court

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on March 31, 2005 1:48 PM

A man convicted of knifing and shooting another man carried a switchblade with him during his two-day trial in Wayne County Superior Court.

The knife was discovered when Jimmy Parker, 46, of Courtyard Circle, was being searched before being placed in the Wayne County Jail.

"He had walked around the courtroom and in front of the jury with a knife," District Attorney Branny Vickory said Wednesday. "This goes to show you that we need more security for the courtrooms."

Vickory defended the deputies who maintain order in the courtrooms. But he said stronger measures are needed to ensure such incidents do not happen again.

"I'm not blaming the bailiffs," Vickory said.

Vickory noted that two fights have broken out in county courtrooms since Feb. 14. None of the combatants was armed. But, Vickory said, "Just think if any of them had a knife, much less a firearm."

Metal detectors have been placed at courtroom doors, but they are used only during high-profile trials.

Resident Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell has pressed for improved security in the courthouse. He told the county Criminal Justice Study Commission more than two years ago that he wanted metal detectors at all entrances to the courthouse, the same as at federal courthouses.

County Manager Lee Smith said such a system could be put in place in three days. Smith said county employees would be given swipe cards to pass through the detectors.

Parker was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill while inflicting serious injury and felony larceny.

Victor Ingram, 35, of Jake Drive, Dudley, who was the victim of the June assault, did not testify. But his mother and several police officers took the stand.

The jury deliberated for 48 minutes before finding Parker guilty of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and not guilty of larceny.

Judge Paul Jones sentenced Parker to 60 days in jail. Parker also was ordered to pay $16,908.77 for Ingram's hospital bills and $682.50 for his court-appointed defense lawyer.

When Parker was being led to the jail, bailiffs found the knife. Parker was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor. His secured bond was set by a magistrate at $800.