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Coleman guilty of voluntary manslaughter

A Driver woman who shot and killed her half-brother after an argument in September 2005 could spend up to 10 years behind bars.

After three days of testimony, Suffolk Circuit Court Judge Westbrook Parker on Friday convicted Daisy Denise Coleman of voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting 52-year-old James Robert “Bob” Parker.

Coleman was allowed to remain free on $100,000 bond, under conditions that she not drink alcohol and have weekly meetings with a probation officer. She will be sentenced Aug. 30.

Coleman, 45, was initially charged with first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Prosecutors weren’t able to show evidence proving the shooting was premeditated or that Coleman acted with malice, which were necessary for convictions of first-degree and second-degree murder charges respectively.

“This is not a case of murder or self defense,” said Parker, handing down his verdict moments after closing arguments wrapped up Friday afternoon. “This is a clear case of manslaughter.”

Defense attorney Woody Crook argued that Coleman acted in self defense, because Parker n who had been estranged from the rest of the family in recent years n threatened to kill her and hit her with a cane. Coleman testified that Parker knocked her onto the kitchen floor twice and attempted to choke her.

Both Parker and Coleman were intoxicated on the day of the shooting, Crook added.

Parker was probably upset after learning about Coleman’s decision to sell his late parents’ brick ranch house near the intersection of Kings Highway and Sleepy Hole Road. Witnesses who were at the home that day on Thursday described him as belligerent, loud and smelling of alcohol.

Crook also challenged Detective John Jones’ testimony, alleging that the investigator’s written report left out statements made during Coleman’s seven-hour interrogation.

Parker said he saw no evidence that Jones abused his power as an investigator in this case.

“It’s not murder, not even second-degree murder,” Crook said. “It’s justifiable homicide.

“This poor lady, it’s her against the world, against the Suffolk Police Department and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.”

Prosecutors Marie Walls and Will Jamerson said the evidence didn’t add up for a self-defense plea.

“The evidence that convicted the defendant is her own testimony,” Walls said, holding the rifle that killed “Bob” Parker. “The stories she is telling this court don’t make sense.”

Jamerson pointed to several discrepancies in Coleman’s questioning with police and her testimony. For example, he said, Coleman didn’t mention to police that Parker had allegedly threatened her with a cane for several weeks after her arrest.

At one point, Coleman told police she was sitting on a loveseat and that Parker was rushing at her with the cane when she fired the gun, Jamerson said. But a representative from the medical examiner’s office said the bullet path indicated that Parker was sitting down when he was shot and that Coleman was standing several feet away.

“Malice is an issue,” Jamerson said, during closing arguments. “I think she wanted to move on with her life. Her parents were dead and her brother was being a pain in the neck … and she got tired of it.”

allison.williams@suffolknewsherald.com