Hearing set for witness tampering allegations in Marshall County - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Hearing set for witness tampering allegations in Marshall County High School shooting case

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MARSHALL COUNTY, KY -- A judge ordered an evidentiary hearing in the case of suspected school shooter Gabe Parker after Parker's attorneys raised questions of witness tampering.

They say that an attorney for the school district reached out to school district staff and told them not to cooperate with the defense.

Parker is accused of killing two people and injuring 14 others during a shooting at Marshall County High School in January and after smiling as he walked into the courtroom, he sat through the hearing stone faced and silent. 

Parker's attorney Tom Griffiths alleged the witness tampering in a motion earlier this week, saying it could have a major impact on Parker's ability to get a fair trial. 

"It's the effect on witnesses that will come into play in the case because if someone changes their testimony or refuses to testify or anything like that, that can be a catastrophic problem," Griffiths said. 

Griffiths added that multiple witnesses have agreed to speak to the defense, but declined after contacting the school's attorney. 

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Dennis Foust agreed to the evidentiary hearing, but argued the school district lawyer had done nothing wrong because witnesses have the right to decline pre-trial interviews .

"The one thing that we do agree with is the law, and we agree that the defendant is entitled and should be able to conduct reasonable investigations," Foust said. "We don't think that anyone is causing them a problem in doing that" 

Griffiths also said he would continue his attempts for a change of venue, saying it would be nearly impossible to select an impartial jury.

"It's not fair to the community to ask them to pretend that this hasn't disrupted them and to pretend to put it aside," Griffiths said. "It's just not fair to them."

Griffiths had also filed a motion to compel the Kentucky State Police to release evidence including surveillance footage of the shooting and the contents of Parker's phone, but said he received that Friday morning. 

The evidentiary hearing in the case will take place on February 1 at 9:30 a.m. 
 

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