Photo by Curt Yeomans
Retired Georgia Department of Corrections Surveillance Officer Cicero Parks explains Wednesday how he could tell that a gun used to kill Clayton County Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Daly was stolen from his apartment in 2009.
The gun used to shoot Clayton County Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Daly last year was a state-issued law enforcement weapon that was stolen two-and-a-half years ago, according to a now-retired officer, and a federal agent.
In a surprise twist Wednesday afternoon, retired Georgia Department of Corrections Surveillance Officer Cicero Parks took the witness stand in the trial of Veasa Johnathan Bun, and testified that the gun Bun allegedly used to shoot and kill Daly on July 20, 2011, was stolen from his Conyers apartment in September 2009.
Parks said the gun had been assigned to him by the Department of Corrections, to carry out his duties as one of its officers. He identified the gun on the witness stand, after closely examining it and comparing the weapon’s serial number against records he had for his missing gun.
“This is my weapon,” said Parks. “It’s a Glock, and the serial numbers are the same.”
Parks’ revelation that the gun used to kill a sheriff’s deputy was once used to aide law enforcement was buried in an afternoon filled with forensic testimony from Georgia Bureau of Investigations fingerprint and DNA experts. Those experts testified that they found Bun’s fingerprints and DNA on the weapon during analysis of the gun, following the shooting of Daly.
Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Jeff Reed was the first witness to testify that the weapon had been stolen, and was previously a state law enforcement weapon. He said he made the discovery while running a trace on the gun, at the request of investigators who were looking into Daly’s death.
Reed testified that the gun was made in Australia, and imported to the U.S. by Smyrna-based Glock, Incorporated. He added that the gun entered the state’s public safety inventory in 1996.
“The trace information detailed that once Glock, in Smyrna, Ga., received the gun, which was imported from Australia, that they sold the gun to the training academy — the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, located in Forsyth, Ga.,” Reed said.
Late in the evening of July 20, 2011, however, the gun that was once intended to be used to help fight crime was being collected from a wooded area in Riverdale, by law enforcement officers. They had to find out if it ended up being used to kill the type of person it was supposed to be operated by.
Parks said that Wednesday was the first time he had seen the weapon since it was stolen on Sept. 30, 2009. He added, however, that the weapon had been altered since it was stolen from his apartment. He explained that someone added a laser sight, which emits a laser to show where the gun is pointed.
“You can target an individual by using it as a sight,” Parks said.
Earlier in the day, three Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies and a Clayton County Police officer recounted how they found, and took Bun into custody, following an hours-long manhunt through a wooded area filled with ponds and thick brush. Fayette County Sheriff’s Deputy Brent Rowan said he found Bun while searching a “foxhole” tunnel created by trees growing over a fence near one of the ponds.
“I was crawling through the foxhole when my light hit a subject laying in a fetal position,” said Rowan, who was referring to Bun. He added that Bun was in a spot where he could see everything to his left, right and straight ahead, while keeping his back against heavily wooded brush. “He had stationed himself in a position that was very tactical,” the deputy explained.
Rowan said he ordered Bun to show him his hands, but the teenager refused to obey his commands. At that point, fellow Fayette County Deputy Earl Hanners sent his K-9 dog, Kai, into the brush to capture Bun, since officers were not sure if he planned to shoot at any other law enforcement officers.
“All he’d have to do is shoot, and we’d have another catastrophe,” Hanners said. “He’d already shot one officer.”
The dog, instead, ended up getting confused and biting Rowan in the bicep, causing him to accidentally fire his gun, according to Hanners. Rowan then had to be taken to a hospital.
Another Fayette County Sheriff’s Office K-9 handler, Investigator Christopher Robinson, testified that he then sent his dog, Caine, into the brush to apprehend Bun. “My dog was released and he bit the suspect in the head, and shoulder area,” the investigator said. He explained that he sent his dog into the brush after he heard the shot fired by Rowan’s gun, and then saw Rowan, Hanners and Kai “roll” out of the brush covered in blood.
“I thought one, or both of them, had been shot,” Robinson said.
Prosecutors are set to wrap up their case Thursday. They are expected to begin at 9 a.m., with the playing of a video recording of Bun being interviewed by investigators hours after his arrest, and the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Daly is expected to follow as their final witness.
Defense Attorney Lloyd Matthews declined to say whether Bun will testify, but he admitted that “I have no witnesses” that can testify in his client’s behalf.