The man accused of killing his stepfather, Central District resident Glennis Parker, one year ago has been found not guilty. Zachary Collins was accused of killing Parker on First Hill last February after a fight at Parker’s home. From Seattle Times:
On Friday, the jury in the first-degree murder trial told a judge that they were unable to come to a unanimous decision. Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie ordered jurors to keep going, and soon after deliberations resumed on Monday morning the not guilty verdict was announced.
Seattle police say that Collins and Parker got into an argument at Parker’s Central Area home on Feb. 9, about an hour before the slaying, and that someone from the home dialed 911 at 1:36 a.m. The line was disconnected without anyone speaking with dispatchers, though a fight could be heard over the line, charges said.
When a dispatcher called the number back, Parker’s wife answered and said there was no problem at the home, charges said.
After the fight, Collins left the home, but his mother, disabled stepbrother and Parker remained behind, charging documents said. Parker left the home a short time later and was found dead in his truck around 2:30 a.m.
UPDATE 2:36 PM: Collins’ lawyer issued the following statement:
A King County Superior Court jury acquitted Zachary Collins of Murder in the First Degree this morning. The King County Prosecutor’s Office accused Mr. Collins of murdering his step-father Glennis Parker.
Glennis Parker was shot three times in the head while he sat in his truck at the 76 gas station at Terry and James Streets in Seattle, Washington on February 9, 2010.
The defense was able to show that Mr. Collins did not and could not have committed the murder. A security guard chased the shooter from the scene. The telephone records, records collected by the State, conclusively established that Mr. Collins was well North of the 76 Station when the guard was chasing the actual shooter.
Mr. Collins is very grateful that the jury carefully considered the evidence in reaching its decision. He is looking forward to returning to school and moving forward with his life.
The jury had reported last Friday that they were deadlocked 11-1. Judge Eadie ordered them to return on Monday and continue with their deliberations. They announced first thing this morning that they were able to come to an unanimous conclusion – the conclusion that Mr. Collins was not guilty.
The State filed charges on July 19, 2010. Mr. Collins surrendered on July 20 once he learned that the charges had been filed. He has been in custody ever since. He will be released sometime this afternoon. The case was State v. Zachary Collins, 10-1-06254-4 SEA. If convicted, he faced a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Attorney Tim Leary represented Mr. Collins throughout the proceedings. Mr. Leary spent eight years as a King County Prosecutor before leaving the office in 2008 to become a defense attorney. While still in the office, he prosecuted the Huling Brothers car salesmen accused of taking advantage of a mentally ill customer. He also was also one of two prosecutors on the Marie Robinson case. Ms. Robinson was convicted of starving her two young boys while on a days long drinking binge in Kent.
The result is the modern perception that the “not proven” verdict is an acquittal used when the judge or jury does not have enough evidence to convict but is not sufficiently convinced of the defendant’s innocence to bring in a “not guilty” verdict. Essentially, the judge or jury is unconvinced that the suspect is innocent, but has insufficient evidence to the contrary. Technically (though not in the perception of the public), there is no difference between “not proven” and “not guilty” and both are equivalent to the “Not Guilty” verdict of English Law and of other jurisdictions. In popular parlance, this verdict is sometimes jokingly referred to as “not guilty and don’t do it again”.