Demarcus Parker West Memphis man sentenced to 2 life sentences in stray bullet shooting death of off duty police officer Oliver Johnson with Forrest City Police Dept.
Little consolation to a young girl bereft of a father. A West Memphis man has been sentenced to two life terms plus 835 years jail for fatally shooting an off-duty police officer in northeast Arkansas two years ago.
Demarcus Parker, 27, was convicted on Tuesday of first-degree murder, illegally shooting a weapon from a moving vehicle and 21 related charges in the April 2018 shooting death of Forrest City officer Oliver Johnson, according to court documents.
Prosecutors said Parker was shooting at rival gang members outside Johnson’s apartment on South Avalon Street in West Memphis at 3.30pm on April 28 when the officer was fatally struck by a stray bullet.
At the time of the shooting, Johnson was playing video games with his family, including one of his daughters. Investigators said the officer was likely not the target of the gunfire.
Neighbors at the Meadow Apartments reported hearing some 40 gunshots, according to WREG.
‘comfort that justice was served this week’
Portia Weatherspoon, Johnson’s relative who lives in the building, rushed into his unit and attempted to perform CPR on him.
Less than two weeks after the officer’s shooting death, police in West Memphis arrested Parker and his alleged accomplice, 24-year-old George Henderson.
On Tuesday, Judge Randy Philhours followed the jury’s sentencing recommendation and ruled that Parker’s prison terms are to run consecutively.
‘Sadly, none of this will bring Officer Johnson back to his family, but maybe they will find some comfort that justice was served this week,’ Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington stated after the sentencing.
A trial on similar charges is pending against Henderson, who has pleaded not guilty.
Johnson, who had served with the Forrest City Police Department for three years, was survived by his fiancee and two daughters.
Family members and colleagues described Johnson as genuine, caring and hardworking.
The sentencing follows an escalation of gun violence in a fractured America.