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GREENVILLE — All eyes were on Gregory Parks when he took the witness stand Thursday in his first-degree murder trial.
Parks, 59, gave jurors his version of events that transpired the day police say Isabel “Chaveli” Palacios vanished and was never heard from again.
Parks’ attorney, Tom Sallenger, asked Parks if he hurt the 20-year-old mother.
“No sir, wouldn’t dare,” Parks testified.
Sallenger also asked Parks if he killed Palacios. He said he did not.
“When Chaveli left my house, she was alive,” Parks testified.
Thursday marked the end of the third week of the murder trial, which is being held in Pitt County. Parks is accused of kidnapping and killing Palacios, who police say was last seen at Parks’ Wilson home on July 31, 2015. The missing person case became one of recovery in the weeks after. Palacios’ body has never been found.
Parks, dressed in a dark gray suit and tie Thursday, said he and Palacios used crack cocaine from the late evening of July 30, 2015 and into the morning of July 31, 2015.
He said when the crack was nearly gone, Palacios told him she knew where to get some more. He said Palacios walked out of his Ward Boulevard home and got into a car with another man, who he believed was Hispanic. He said he didn’t see who she got in the car with, but said she left around 2 p.m.
He said he went to sleep after nearly two days on a crack cocaine bender.
“I have not seen her or heard from her since,” Parks testified.
‘KICK THAT SUCKER TO THE CURB’
Parks, who had known Palacios, said he saw her in front of an apartment complex on the evening of July 30, 2015. He said the two made plans to hang out later. He said she came over to his house around 9 p.m. She wanted to smoke marijuana.
“I don’t smoke weed,” Parks told jurors. “I smoke cocaine.”
He said together they hung out in his bedroom — Palacios smoked her blunt filled with marijuana and he smoked his pipe filled with crack cocaine.
Parks said he later found out she didn’t smoke crack anymore. But Palacios kept looking at him as if she wanted a pull from his crack pipe.
“Here, have some,” Parks said he told her. “That started the night.”
Parks said he and Palacios went on a crack cocaine bender all night and into the early morning hours of July 31, 2015. He said they went back and forth from the crack dealer’s house to his Ward Boulevard home.
At one point, the two discussed her relationship issues, he said. Palacios liked one guy but was dating another, he said.
Parks testified she was hanging on to the boyfriend she had because she had court coming up and wanted him to pay her $200 court costs.
Parks told her, “I will give you $100 to kick that sucker to the curb,” he testified.
Palacios took off her ring and gave it Parks as collateral. They continued to smoke crack, he said.
‘THE MAN IN THE MOON’
It is well documented that Parks called 911 several times on July 31, 2015 regarding disturbances at his home. One of those disturbances involved two men who wanted their money that Parks owed them for drugs.
Parks had called 911 because the two men were outside his home. Palacios, who had warrants out for her arrest, became nervous, he said. She didn’t want the police to come to Parks’ home.
Parks tried to tell her that the police wouldn’t come inside but would respond only to the two men outside who were bothering them, he said. Parks said Ronald Parker showed up about that time.
“I didn’t know Ronald Parker from the man in the moon,” Parks testified.
He said Parker and Palacios went out the back door of his home and drove around the block until the police left. Parker and Palacios came back to Parks’ home.
Parks testified Parker sold him more crack throughout the morning of July 31, 2015. Parks said Parker went to sleep in his spare bedroom and left around 11 a.m.
At one point, Parks said he left his house and Palacios bought a blunt dipped in either embalming fluid or PCP, a hallucinogen.
“I had never seen her smoke this stuff before,” Parks testified. “She’s woozy on this stuff.”
He said it made Palacios very carefree.
Parks said she cut her hand on the glass from a broken window in his bedroom. Parks testified she touched his bedroom wall and then began throwing up on the floor and his bedroom comforter.
He said the two had been drinking in addition to doing drugs. Parks testified after she threw up, he got her to the hallway bathroom where he gave her a towel to clean herself up and to take a shower.
He said Palacios felt better and took another hit of crack.
Parks said when the “dope” ran out, Palacios told him she knew where to get some more. He said she left his house around 2 p.m. He said when Palacios was getting ready to leave, she couldn’t find her keys, but it didn’t matter much because she was getting in the car with another man.
He said he didn’t see who she got in the car with or notice the car enough to provide a description. Parks said after she left, he cleaned up his bedroom and fell asleep for a few hours.
Parks said he woke up shortly before 6 p.m. that same day. He said Parker and his cousin were banging on the door and the windows. They wanted to know where Palacios was. While Parker’s cousin called 911, so did Parks.
When the police arrived, he told the responding officers they could come inside his home. They conducted a welfare check, searching every room inside Parks’ house and didn’t find Palacios, he said. The police told Parker and his cousin to move on.
Several hours later, a Hispanic man who was friends with Palacios went to Parks’ home. He was with Parker and his cousin, who knocked on the doors again. They wanted to know where Palacios was.
Parks called 911 again because the men wouldn’t leave his house, he said.
Police responded and conducted another check throughout Parks’ home. But they didn’t find Palacios. Parks testified that he allowed police to search his home because he had “nothing to hide.”
THE PAWN SHOP
Parks said he finally tried to get some rest but his phone kept ringing throughout the night and into the early morning hours on Aug. 1, 2015. He said he picked up Shannon Dunn, who has previously testified on behalf of the state earlier in the trial.
He said they spent the day chasing crack cocaine. Parks said they drove to multiple places, including a Wilson pawn shop where he pawned Palacios’ ring.
Sallenger asked Parks if he stole Palacios’ ring.
“No, she had given it to me,” Parks testified.
He said he took Dunn home around 11:30 p.m. He said the party was over.
More details from Gregory Parks’ testimony will be published in Saturday’s edition of The Wilson Times.