Student In Court On Charges Of Planning Massacre

Thursday, May 8th 2008, 8:17 am
By: News On 6

There are new developments in the case of a Claremore college student accused of plotting a mass shooting on campus.  Testimony in court on Thursday gave shocking new details about the accusations against Rogers State University student Tywone Parks. The News On 6's Ashli Sims was in court and reports the story gets darker and more confusing, depending on who is telling the tale.

Tywone Parks arrived for his preliminary hearing, shackled and dressed in jail-house orange.  It's a far cry from snapshots of him laughing with friends.  That contrast underlines the essential conflict of his case.

The prosecution paints him as an armed, burgeoning killer, who fantasized about hurting women.

The defense draws a different profile, one of a social young man who might suffer from mental illness.

"I know that there are mental health issues obviously in this case. It's going to be a question of degree and timing," said defense attorney Jack Zanerhaft.

Two of the young women, who police say Parks threatened, testified at his preliminary hearing.

One was his neighbor at the Deer Run Apartments, who now says Parks put a decapitated dog's head on her doorstep.  But she admitted at first, she called Parks for protection after she found the head.

The second witness, who says she'd been good friends with Parks for several years, testified that he told her "to live each day like it was her last."

But neither witness seemed unnerved, one giggled several times on the stand.

The most disturbing details came from investigators, detailing Parks writing, including threats to decapitate a young woman and statements like, "I will not rest until my enemies feel my wrath."

Another investigator talked about an entry in Parks journal that described the kidnapping and sexual torture of a 12 year old.

Park's attorney argued that the journals are just stories and having a vivid imagination is not a crime.

"I think there are more disturbing things on television, the movies, and on the internet. People have imagination. People are creative. People say things or write things never intending to make them into a reality," said defense attorney Jack Zanerhaft.

Claremore Police officers testified Parks told them he has had homicidal thoughts since he was seven years old.  And, he did things like cut-off the dead dog's head to keep those thoughts at bay.

Parks attorney tried to argue that his client was off his medication and none of his statements were admissible.

The judge disagreed and decided there was enough evidence for Parks to go to trial.


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