Kevin Parnell could face five to 99 years in prison if convicted of Sammie Jones’ death.
In a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kevin Parnell, 38, fatally shot Sammie Jones, 28, on Labor Day after trying to enter Jones’ apartment to confront his roommate Jordan Briggs in Fort Worth, Texas. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Parnell was angry that his step-daughter (who had previously dated Briggs) had recently been arrested for prostitution and blamed Briggs.
Earlier on Labor Day afternoon, investigators claim that Parnell sent Briggs a series of racist messages through Facebook, calling him the n-word, threatening to “hang” him and remarking “I’m going to strip you naked and whip you like the slave you are.”
A couple of hours later Parnell arrived at Briggs’ apartment and knocked on the door. Briggs had warned Jones not to answer but the latter still opened the door, with the former hiding in the back of their apartment. According to Briggs, Parnell asked about his whereabouts, to which Jones said he did not know. In response, Parnell went on a racist tirade against black people, with Jones attempting to calm him down.
“You know what kind of gun this is boy, it is a Glock 40,” Briggs said, before ultimately shooting Jones in the face. Parnell then closed the front door to the apartment and left. Aside from Briggs seeing the incident, a neighbor also heard the gunshot and saw Parnell walking with a gun to a pickup truck and speeding off.
Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Parnell that same night and fugitive officers arrested him while he was working at the General Motors plant in Arlington. Parnell is currently in the Mansfield jail with bail set at $500,000. However, it is unknown if the shooting will be charged as a hate crime.
“We’re going to have to review the case more thoroughly before we make a determination,” Kevin Rousseau, who works for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, said.
Under Texas law punishments for certain crimes can be enhanced if a judge or jury concludes that the offense is a hate crime. However, first-degree felonies such as murder cannot be enhanced because such offenses already have a penalty ranging from five to 99 years in prison.