BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Jonathan Parker has been in prison for more than 25 years after being convicted and sentenced to life for killing Officer Charles “Skip” McDougald.
Now, two witnesses who testified they saw Parker near the area where shots were fired are saying they never actually saw him.
Parker’s new defense team submitted a 440 motion to grant Parker a new hearing.
They filed for two reasons; the first being the two witnesses recanting their statements.
Secondly, during closing arguments in the 1998 trial Parker’s previous defense attorney said Parker recklessly caused the officer’s murder.
In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a defense attorney can’t say anything admitting their client’s guilt if their client objects.
VOICE Buffalo is asking people to write letters to District Attorney John Flynn asking him not to oppose the hearing.
“If there is actual evidence that could exonerate and show that Jonathan Parker has lost 25 years of his life unjustly then we must bring that to light and why wouldn’t we want to bring that to light, is my question for the DA’s office,” said Minister Denise Walden, director of organizing for VOICE Buffalo.
Flynn said there was ample evidence to convict Parker back then and nothing has changed.
“Quite frankly, 25 years later two people changing their story has no significance at all on his guilt or innocence and his argument about what his defense lawyer did during closing statement is quite frankly irrelevant,” Flynn said.
He said there was no objection by Parker because the attorney never told him he was going to admit Parker caused the murder.
Flynn said even if there was an objection by Parker, the Supreme Court decision isn’t retroactive, meaning it doesn’t go back to cases from 1998.
Parker’s attorneys aren’t backing down.
“It’s the people standing up and supporting these individuals that allows for this to actually happen and allows for justice to truly prevail,” said attorney Steven Metcalf.
“Jonathan Parker is a convicted cop killer who deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail and I will do everything to ensure he does spend the rest of his life in jail,” Flynn said.
There will be a written decision on whether or not the hearing is granted within 30 days.