NEW HAVEN — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Monday charging a Raleigh, North Carolina man with kidnapping and murdering three individuals in Hamden and New Haven.
The indictment of 33-year-old Edward Michael Parks, also known as “Lee” and “Trouble” comes after four years of an in-depth homicide investigation and statements made in court, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Durham.
Parks was in an apartment on Shelton Avenue in New Haven on November 16, 2015 conducting an illegal sale of firearms. Damian Connor, 23 and Tamar Lawrence, 19 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.
Parks has been charged with two counts of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of witness tampering by killing.
According to officials, if convicted of the charges, he faces a maximum term of life, or death if the government seeks the death penalty in this matter.
Currently, Parks is in federal custody on an unrelated conviction for drug and firearm offenses in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
State officials say they are thankful for their collaborative work in bringing to justice an individual they believe to be responsible for three cold-blooded killings.
“This prosecution represents a tragic example of how lives can be ruined when firearms are illegally possessed and traded,” U.S. Attorney Durham said.
Hamden Chief of Police, John Cappiello says he would like to thank the families of the victims for their patience and trust.
“I hope this indictment gives them some sense of peace and closure,” Cappiello said.
Officials say this 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.