Thursday, April 15, 2004

Parsons suspect from start

Police say he has admitted killing

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mark Smith
David Parsons
CRESTVIEW HILLS - The man accused of killing an Applebee's manager in Northern Kentucky told detectives he believes in karma.

"What goes around, comes around," the suspect said before confessing to the slaying, according to the criminal complaint police used to obtain an arrest warrant.

That complaint portrays two individuals who didn't get along at work. Detectives say David Talmadge Parsons shot Applebee's manager Mark Smith, 36, in the early morning hours of April 27 because he blamed Smith for his troubles at work. Parsons had worked for Smith before being transferred to the Florence Applebee's.

Parsons, 45, made his initial appearance in Kenton County District Court Wednesday on a single charge of murder. Mary Rafizadeh of Covington was appointed public defender for Parsons. She said her client intended to plead not guilty. Parsons said little during the hearing other than to acknowledge his rights under the Constitution.

Parsons was picked up on a murder warrant Tuesday while being held in an Indiana jail on an unrelated theft charge. He is being held in the Kenton County jail on no bond. He is not eligible for the death penalty under Kentucky law because the killing wasn't committed during the act of robbery, according to prosecutor Bill Crockett.

Parsons got into a confrontation with Smith, the father of two, just hours before the killing, Kenton County Detective Wayne Wallace wrote in the complaint. Wallace said Smith admitted to being in the restaurant to taunt Smith and "to let him know that he did not win."

Another employee reported to police that she overheard Parsons tell Smith "ultimately I will be the winner of the battle."

After the confrontation, Wallace said Parsons went to an Edgewood bar to drink with another Applebee's employee. That employee told detectives that Parsons called Smith a derogatory word and abruptly left, squealing his tires while pulling out of the bar's parking lot.

Police interviewed Parsons seven or eight times since the killing. The first was the day of the killing. The last two times were while Parsons was jailed in Noblesville, Ind., 27 miles north of Indianapolis.

Wallace said Parsons told detectives Aug. 15 that he tried to be a "voice for other employees" by confronting Smith. Wallace said Parsons then told police that even though he is "not the biggest guy in the world, someone has to stand up for what is right" and he was the "only one there with the courage to do it."

Parsons is 180 pounds and 5-foot-6 and Smith was a 6-foot-6 Marine veteran.

On April 7, while locked in jail, Wallace said Parsons finally told detectives that he had another confrontation with Smith after he left the Edgewood bar. Police said Parsons told them he made a "wrong choice" and that he was a good man who acted out of character.

By Monday, Parsons broke down and admitted to the killing, according to the complaint.

Parsons told detectives "he snapped."

A cleaning crew found Smith's body at 4:30 a.m. in the restaurant parking lot. He had been shot once in the face.

Wallace and the Lakeside Park/Crestview Hills police are still looking for a .380-caliber handgun.


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