Jones County man on trial accused of killing his best friend

GRAY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Jones County man is on trial after authorities say he killed his best friend a year ago.

James Don Parker sat quietly in a Jones County Superior courtroom Thursday. Lawyers took turns questioning a Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner about how 61-year-old Allen Helmuth died on February 11, 2014.

“It was a homicide,” she responded to Jones County Assistant District Attorney Dawn Baskin. “The cause of death, multiple gunshots.”

Parker, 58, is accused of killing Helmuth, his best friend and Stallings Road neighbor. The fatal shooting happened around 3 a.m., that is according to court testimony. However, the Jones County Sheriff’s Office did not get the 911 call until around 8 a.m.

“Parker called the sheriff’s office from his neighbor’s house…stating he woke up with head injuries and does not know how he got them,” Deputy Joel McCullough stated in a police report.

McCullough said when he arrived at the home on Stallings Road home, he saw Parker standing outside with blood running down his face in the rain. He was wearing blue jeans, boots, and was not wearing a shirt.

“Parker said he did not know what happened,” added McCullough. “Parker said he thought his friend was dead in the house.”

McCullough and an EMT worker entered the home.

“The first thing I saw was a white male lying on his back with a pool of blood under his head. I saw a rifle laying on the bedroom floor. There was a meat cleaver on the kitchen floor,” said McCullough.

The deputy described the house as filled with blood stains.

“There was blood on the door, the refrigerator door and the kitchen floor,” he continued. “Parker stated numerous times that he did not know what happened.”

Parker was arrested and charged with felony murder. On February 14, the GBI conducted an autopsy on Helmuth’s body.

Parker’s murder trial began Monday. He’s defense attorney is Jeffrey Slitz. Baskin is prosecuting the case along with Assistant District Attorney Wright Barksdale.

The jury saw photos of the crime scene and the clothes Helmuth was wearing when investigators found him in a pool of blood. Baskin used a Styrofoam head to show where Helmuth was shot in the forehead and face.

Slitz also used the same Styrofoam head to question if the placements of the bullets suggest Helmuth was lunging at Parker when he was shot.

The murder trial will continue Friday.

Categories: Jones County, Local News

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