SALEM — The judge handling the negligent firearms case of Danville police Chief Wade Parsons wants to take an in-depth look at state law before proceeding further.
Attorneys for Parsons and the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office met with Judge Michael Sullivan for a brief pretrial conference yesterday in 10th Circuit Court. Parsons was not present.
Parsons, 54, contends he is not responsible for the death March 11 of his girlfriend’s 15-year-old son, Jacob Carver, who shot and killed himself with the chief’s service weapon. The boy’s body was found in the chief’s home on Caramel Drive in Danville.
Parsons has pleaded not guilty to negligent storage of a firearm, a violation, for failing to secure his loaded handgun before leaving the house to run errands.
Sullivan is hearing the case after the prosecution asked that Judge Sharon DeVries recuse herself following comments she made in August in 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow when Parsons unexpectedly showed up for a pretrial conference.
DeVries said she had “known Chief Parsons as the Danville police chief for as long as (she) has been on the bench,” according to the motion filed by Assistant County Attorney Terri Harrington.
DeVries’ comment indicated she could not be impartial when hearing the case, Harrington said. DeVries agreed to step down Aug. 26.
After the conference yesterday in the judge’s chambers, Harrington said Sullivan requested that she provide additional information on how the firearms law, 650-C:1, has been applied in past cases.
The law states “any person who stores or leaves on premises under that person’s control a loaded firearm, and who knows or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child’s parent or guardian, is guilty of a violation if a child gains access to a firearm ... .”