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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

North Carolina Man Charged with Committing 3 Murders in Connecticut in November 2015

United States Attorney John H. Durham, New Haven State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin, Special Agent in Charge Brian C. Turner of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hamden Police Chief John Cappiello and New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment yesterday charging EDWARD MICHAEL PARKS, also known as “Lee” and “Trouble,” 33, of Raleigh, North Carolina, with kidnapping and murdering two individuals in Hamden, and killing a third victim in New Haven to stop him from advising law enforcement what had occurred.

As alleged in statements made in court, on November 16, 2015, Parks was in an apartment on Shelton Avenue in New Haven to conduct an illegal sale of firearms.  Damian Connor and Tamar Lawrence were also present in the apartment.  When another individual left the apartment with firearms that he had not paid for, Parks, who was armed, held Connor and Lawrence against their will.  Parks collected money and valuables from Connor and Lawrence, and then forced them to travel in Connor’s car to Hamden where Connor said he could get more money.  They were followed in another vehicle by Devante Williams and another individual.  After the vehicles arrived at 676 Mix Avenue in Hamden, Parks shot and killed Connor and Lawrence.  Parks then left the scene with Williams and others in the second vehicle and returned to New Haven.

It is further alleged that, when Parks appeared to believe that Williams was anxious about the murders of Connor and Lawrence, Parks shot and killed Williams in the area of Sherman Court in New Haven.

The indictment charges Parks with two counts of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of witness tampering by killing.  If convicted of the charges, Parks faces a maximum term of imprisonment of life, or death if the government seeks the death penalty in this matter.

Parks is currently incarcerated in federal custody following an unrelated conviction for drug and firearm offenses in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“This prosecution represents a tragic example of how lives can be ruined when firearms are illegally possessed and traded,” said U.S. Attorney Durham.  “I thank our partners in the FBI, Hamden Police Department, New Haven Police Department and New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office for their collaborative work in bringing to justice an individual we allege to be responsible for three cold-blooded killings.”

“This case is a great example of the results obtained from cooperative efforts between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” said State’s Attorney Griffin.

“The investigation by the Hamden and New Haven police departments into these horrific murders has resulted in justice being served, and today our community is safer for it,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Turner.

“I would like to thank the families of the victims for their patience and trust,” said Hamden Chief Cappiello.  “I hope this indictment gives them some sense of peace and closure.  I would also like to thank New Haven Detective Sergeant Bertram Ettienne, Hamden Detective Jomo Crawford, the FBI Safe Street Violent Task Force and the Offices of the U.S. Attorney and New Haven State’s Attorney.  This case demonstrates that by working together we were able to get a violent individual off the streets.”

“Today, after 4 years of an in-depth homicide investigation, the New Haven Police Department and our law enforcement partners are able to bring justice to the family of Devante Williams,” said New Haven Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson.  “We would like to extend a special thank you to the Williams family for their patience and understanding while investigators worked diligently to make this day a reality.  We would also like to thank our law enforcement partners, the New Haven Police homicide detectives, Hamden Police homicide detectives, U.S Attorney’s Office, New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Correction as justice would not have prevailed without them.”       

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hamden Police Department and New Haven Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony E. Kaplan, Peter D. Markle and Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis, and Assistant State’s Attorney Seth Garbarsky, who has been cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in this matter.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated December 10, 2019