Attorneys weigh in on delays granted for suits against Marshall County HS shooting suspect

MARSHALL COUNTY, KY — A judge granted a motion Tuesday to delay two lawsuits filed against Gabriel Parker, the Marshall County High School shooting suspect.

One lawsuit was filed by the family of Bailey Holt and the families of three other students who were injured. That lawsuit is against Parker, his family, and several employees of the Marshall County School District. The second was filed by Preston Cope’s family. That suit was filed against Parker, his mother, and his step-father.

Parker’s civil defense attorney, Dennie Leach, asked for a delay in filing a response to those suits until after his criminal trial next year. Leach was concerned about the effect the civil case would have on the criminal case Parker faces. He also asked for a stay in discovery, meaning the defense wanted to halt prosecutors’ process of gathering evidence for the civil cases.

While the hearing lasted just under an hour, Leach and the commonwealth’s attorney each said it’s a necessary step to make sure nothing interferes with his criminal trial.

Judge Jamie Jameson issued a ruling on both requests.

“The delay in the answer would be granted, but if he’s called to testify in any deposition — which I doubt would happen, because they know what’s going to occur — he would just assert his 5th Amendment right,” Jameson said.

The judge also asked lawyers about his possible recusal, because he knows many people mentioned in the lawsuits. “I know of nothing close or personal or anything that the would rule my recusal, but if anyone desires to file that motion at some point, it certainly will be heard,” Jameson said.

While Leach said he’s pleased with the judge’s ruling, he still has concerns about Parker’s defense.

“There are circumstances when you assert a 5th Amendment right in a civil courtroom that that can be used against you in that civil side of the courtroom. So we do have a concern about that, but I don’t think they’ll be calling him for a deposition at least until the criminal portion of this matter is resolved,” Leach said.

Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Foust said Tuesday’s hearing does not affect the criminal case.

“Nothing went on today that would interfere with what we’re doing in our criminal case. The judge obviously indicated he’s protecting the rights of Mr. Parker with respect to his 5th Amendment privilege, and that’s what we expected — so everything went about as I expected it to go,” Foust said.

The next hearing scheduled in Parker’s criminal case is scheduled for May 17.

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