Kentucky school shooting suspect makes court appearance, victims families react

Gabriel R. Parker, Marshall County HS shooting suspect

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (WKRN) – No decision was made Monday on whether Marshall County High School shooting suspect Gabe Parker’s case will be sent back to juvenile court.

Parker’s attorney, Captial Conflict Counselor Tom Griffiths, first asked for a continuance, but the judge did not grant it and said all parties were there in court and many had traveled quite a distance to get here so he went ahead with it.

Parker didn’t show any emotion as he sat in the courtroom.

“I don’t want this to become the tail that wags the dog,” Griffiths told the court.

Griffiths argued the case should be sent back to Juvenile Court, and said Parker didn’t get a fair shake.

“This is the most serious case in the Commonwealth right now and to have rushed it the way they did, to do an abbreivated hearing the way they did, to basically use rather than to do a full hearing use a legal loophole to send it up to adult court was wrong,” Griffiths said.

He said eight factors should have been considered before making the decision to transfer this case to adult court.

“They have the discretion to keep it in juvenile court, the court didn’t have that hearing, the court didn’t make findings on all eight factors, I’m now deciding one way or the other it didn’t happen,” Griffiths said.

The Commonwealth Attorney John Ford begs to differ, telling the court the automatic transfer statue is not a loophole it’s the law.

“There is not an expert in the world who could come in and say this is not a serious offense to murder two children and seriously injury many others,” Ford said.

Ford added, only two factors needed to be considered, the seriousness of the offense, and that it was committed against a person.

Griffiths asked the court to send the case back to Juvenile Court so a full hearing can be held on whether Parker should be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

He also questioned why the Commonwealth’s Attorney General’s office expressed interest in getting involved with this case.

“I can’t understand why the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky would do anything to interfere with this case to slow it down or cause a roadblock,” Griffiths said.

Judge Jamie Jameson decided to give the Attorney General three weeks to respond whether they want they want to take part in trying this case.

If they respond, the defense attorney will be given a week to respond the the AG’s decision.

Victims families react to court appearance

It’s been an emotional ride for family members of the victims, many fighting back tears even before the hearing started.

“As expected, I think since the quiet has set in, it’s harder everyday,” said Tracy Tubbs, victim Bailey Holt’s aunt.  “The silence is harder, the empty rooms are harder to go in as you can expect.  The chair that use to be filled with them, they’re empty, and so it’s difficult.”

A terrible nightmare they can’t seem to wake up from.

“You replay those day’s events over and over again and you think that this is not true this is a reality show this is not real,” Holt said.  “But when reality sets in its difficult, its hard and you just take it day by day.  It’s a new normal and its hard to accept sometimes.”

Having to be in the same room with Gabe Parker was difficult too.

“It is hard to, and I don’t mean this cruel, but it is hard to breathe the same air as him, but we are a very forgiving family.  We have taken everyday step by step, this has set us back a bit but we will again put one foot in front the other and we will proceed as a family and try to use this platform for good,” Tubbs said.  “It’s difficult to see him and then see his family and see all the pain all of us are going through collectively.”

Holt and Preston Cope were allegedly shot and killed by Parker, several other Marshall County High students were also injured.

News 2 asked Parker’s attorney Tom Griffiths how the 16-year-old was holding up.

“My client is in shock, he’s been in shock since this happened and he still is,” Griffiths said.

Police said in recently unsealed court documents that Parker seemed callous, and showed no remorse and viewed his actions as a science experiment to see how people would react.

“I think police has a job to do and they are trying to do it, but they are not psycologists,” Griffiths said. “They are not people who understand the complexity of what’s going on in adult’s mind, let along in a juvenile’s mind.  I think they are out of their lane.”

Family members want justice.

“We always want to give Bailey a voice, she’s not here as I said physcially but we want her legacy to live on and we want justice to be served for her and Preston and we hope we see that happen,” Holt said.

Family members told News 2, they plan to be at every hearing.

They also said they do not want to see this case transferred back to juvenile court.

Parker is expected to appear back in court on Aug. 3 at 1 p.m.