Less than 24 hours after his wife was shot, a Sandy Springs pet store manager on trial in her attempted murder was discussing wedding plans with a Marine young enough to be his daughter, prosecutors disclosed in opening statements.
Rachel Harner, now 22, testified Tuesday that she had no idea her then-boyfriend — Michael Parson — was married. She said she was also led to believe Parson was 28 and had spinal cancer — none of which is true, Parson’s lawyer, Robert Booker, confirmed.
“This case is about whether Michael Parson shot Adina (Broome), it’s not about whether he had an affair,” said Booker, who acknowledged his client led dual lives. The state “(is) not going to be able to show evidence he was the shooter,” he said.
Parson, now 43, is accused of shooting his wife, attorney Adina Broome, eight times outside the couple’s apartment in April 2012. Broome, 41, survived the shooting but lost an eye and the use of her right arm and right leg, and she struggles to speak.
She watched silently from her wheelchair, surrounded by friends and family, as Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Linda Dunikoski displayed graphic photos of her bloodied, bullet-riddled body.
“She was staring straight through me,” Sandy Spring police Detective Jonathan Williams said. “I knew I was watching her die.”
Clenched in her hand were directions to the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur, from where Parson says he called her asking for a ride home.
But Dunikoski said signals from cellular towers placed Parson in the parking lot of the apartment complex at the time of that call.
A friend of Parson’s, Deontae Robinson, was supposed to corroborate the prosecution’s narrative, but when called to the stand by Dunikoski he ended up contradicting himself several times.
Under cross-examination by Booker, Robinson — who initially told investigators he had pretended to be Parson in the VA waiting room, at his request — testified he fell asleep at the hospital. Parson, he conceded, could have seen a doctor while he napped.
Parson, arrested in May 2012 near the Mexican border, pleaded not guilty to criminal attempt to commit murder, two counts of aggravated battery, and three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Harner, his ex-fiancee, testified that she found Parson to be “very sweet, very kind” when they met.
She said they made love the first time at his apartment, where she noticed several female items.
Parson told her they belonged to his “Aunt Adina,” who was staying with him “while she was building (a) house” in Atlanta, Harner testified.