By Paul Thompson
Joseph M. Parker violently beat Lovell J. Smith to death with a pry bar on the afternoon of Sunday, October 24, allege charging documents made public by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday, November 7.
Parker, 37, faces charges of murder in the 2nd Degree and Armed Criminal Action in the slaying of the 39-year-old Smith. A probable cause statement revealed that Smith was deceased at the time authorities arrived. The responding officers reported that the cause of death was from “apparent severe head trauma, consistent with multiple impacts.”
In their subsequent investigation, detectives collected video surveillance that showed first the victim, and then the suspect, walking westbound in the alley where the attack occurred, behind 3618 Roberts. In the video, Parker can be seen holding the pry bar.
The video also shows a third individual, who is seen walking a short distance behind the suspect. The third person, later identified as a witness, eventually stops and walks quickly back eastbound toward 3618 Roberts. Shortly thereafter, the suspect can be seen walking eastbound away from where the victim was found. Still carrying the pry bar, the suspect bends over and wipes the tool off in the grass. A silver vehicle is then seen leaving the scene.
Detectives contacted the owner of the property at 3618 Roberts, who said that several individuals were doing renovations at the residence. The owner added that he only knew one of the individuals who was doing the work. That individual, the third man (witness) from the surveillance video, told authorities that the suspect entered 3618 Roberts while he was there on October 24, asking for a stick. The two walked out to the witnesses vehicle, where the suspect ultimately retrieved the pry bar. The witness told authorities that he saw the suspect raise the pry bar over his head and “bring it down rapidly,” as though he was striking someone. The action was followed by the sound of someone screaming. That’s when, according to the witness, he turned and quickly walked back to 3618 Roberts, fearing he could also be targeted.
Later, the witness gave police a phone number for Parker’s girlfriend, and led detectives to a nearby hotel where he had once driven the suspect. After authorities tied the hotel room to Parker, the witness was able to successfully identify him out of a photographic lineup. In the process of generating the lineups, detectives found that Parker was already at the Jackson County Detention Center; he had been arrested for outstanding warrants just over an hour after the murder had occurred.
The probable cause statement goes on to say that Parker refused to listen to the Miranda Warning and Waiver, placing his fingers in his ears while it was being read. Unwilling to talk to detectives, Parker was transported back to the detention center.