ABERDEEN – Judge Paul Funderburk will decide if Dr. David Parvin’s previous testimony can be used in his new murder trial set to begin Nov. 12.
“What matters is that the state produced evidence that left the defendant no choice but to take the stand and refute it,” Jackson attorney James L. Robertson told the judge, referring to statements made by two of the state’s expert witnesses.
Testimony by those experts – controversial Dr. Steven Hayne and visual reconstructionist Grant Graham – was deemed as inadmissible by the Mississippi Supreme Court last April when it tossed Parvin’s conviction and ordered a new trial.
A 2011 jury convicted Parvin, now 74, of the 2007 shotgun murder of his wife, Joyce, at their Monroe County home. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The Mississippi Supreme Court did not order his acquittal because questions linger about what really happened.
Parvin, a retired university economics professor, maintains that the shotgun he carried inside their home accidentally fired, killing his wife.
Robertson said he doesn’t anticipate Parvin’s taking the stand again.
Prosecutor Paul Gault argued that Parvin’s testimony should be admissible, not as a confession but as his version of what happened.
Gault insisted Parvin’s earlier testimony was relevant because he told two different stories about what happened – first that his wife committed suicide and later that it was an accident.
Hayne is expected to testify again, although he will be limited to his autopsy of Joyce Parvin and not allowed issues about which he is not an expert. Those latter issues helped fuel the conviction reversal.
A hearing next week will consider expert witnesses for the trial.
Wednesday’s hearing in Aberdeen aimed at arguing pretrial issues for Funderburk’s consideration.
Among them, if the state can offer a jury a possible verdict of manslaughter, which was not done at the first trial, but which defense attorneys insist will constitute double jeopardy.
Funderburk denied a couple of other defense motions related to narrowing testimony from Parvin’s former mistress and his daughter.
Parvin also is represented by Jim Waide and Rachel Pierce Waide of Tupelo. Assistant District Attorney Nebra Porter is co-counsel with Gault.