A 50-year-old Diggins man faces first- degree murder charges in the Aug. 4 shoot- ing death of Fordland’s Travis Parker.
Joel Dean Cook allegedly shot Parker in the face with a .22-caliber revolver after a visit turned violent on Aug. 4, and Parker officially was pronounced dead last Tues day, Aug. 7, at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis from the single-gunshot wound, which entered his right eye, Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole said.
Parker was pronounced dead by doctors Aug. 5; however, life support wasn’t removed until two days later so his organs could be donated.
“It’s just a sad deal ... a tragic series of events,” Cole said Monday. “There are family members on both sides (of this case) who are good people.”
He said the fatal shooting was at Cook’s home at 355 State Street in Diggins, about four miles west of Seymour.
Cole explained that after Parker was shot, it was Cook who called “911” minutes later and said he “shot Travis Parker.” First to arrive at the scene in Diggins were officers Dallas Knight of the Rogersville Police Department and Mike Ross of the Seymour Police Department. Also at the scene soon after the call was Deputy Nathan Jenkins of the Webster County Sheriff’s Department, and Cole said he also was at the scene.
“(Cook) didn’t resist arrest in any way,” he said. “He was very calm, not belligerent. He cooperated fully with any and all of our requests after officers arrived.”
The sheriff said that when Jenkins arrived at the scene, he found Parker laying on the floor in an area near the home’s kitchen and living room, unresponsive with what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the face.
“Travis Parker was still alive when my deputy found him,” Cole said. “He then was immediately rushed to the hospital (in Springfield) by ambulance.”
Parker was later transported to the St. Louis hospital.
Cook was arrested at the scene.
“He admitted that he had fired the shot that had left Travis Parker lying on his floor,” Cole said. “At the scene, we learned we had a witness, David Cooley, to this alleged crime.”
Cole said he immediately interviewed Cooley, who told him that he and Parker had traveled together to Cook’s home for a meal. Cook had invited Cooley to stop by and eat.
“Cooley informed Cook that Parker was with him,” Cole wrote in his probable-cause statement, which was sent to Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Danette Padgett. “Cooley knew that Cook and Parker had been in arguments in the past and that Cook had some bad feelings toward Parker. However, Cook informed Cooley that it was okay to bring Parker to the house.”
Upon their arrival at Cook’s home, Cooley told the sheriff that he and Parker went to the kitchen.
“As Cooley was opening the refrigerator, Parker was walking in the kitchen behind him,” Cole’s report said. “Cooley noticed Cook raise a gun. Cooley heard the shot, and Parker fell to the ground.”
Cooley told Cole that he then looked at Cook.
“Cook told Cooley to go ahead and get his steak out of the microwave,” the report continued. “Cooley first thought the event was a joke and that Parker was faking an injury.”
Seconds later, Cooley said that Cook rolled Parker over, and Cooley could tell that Parker had been shot in the face. Cooley then told the sheriff that he grabbed the gun and went outside with it.
According to Cooley’s statements to Cole, Cook left Parker inside the home, fighting for his life. He told the sheriff that he had to verbally convince Cook to call for medical attention.
Cooley added in his interview with Cole that he was in fear for his own safety and refused to give the gun, a pistol, back to Cook.
“Cooley said that he did not know how to unload the gun, so he shot the remaining rounds into the ground outside the house, put the empty gun back in Cook’s truck and left the scene,” Cole wrote in his report. “Cooley said he wondered if Cook may have intentions to shoot him also, like he did Parker.”
Cole interviewed Cook later that day while in custody at the sheriff’s department in Marshfield.
The sheriff said Cook told him of “his long-running contentious relationship with Parker,” explaining that his relationship with Parker was strained because of several alleged actions, in- ... See MURDER, Page 2
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