Record sentence in murder of policeman
West Memphis man gets 2 life sentences plus 835 years for shooting
By JOHN RECH
Judge Randy Philhours acted on the recommendations of a Crittenden County jury handing down a record sentence to 27-year-old Demarcus Parker in the killing of off duty Forrest City Police Officer Oliver Johnson in his West Memphis Apartment.
West Memphis Police Criminal Investigation Division Captain Troy Galtelli and Detective Matt Jarrett worked as lead investigators in the case.
“I’ve been working here 17 years and that is the highest sentencing I’ve seen,” said Galtelli.
Parker was sent to a state penitentiary with two life sentences and 835 years to be served consecutively.
Jurors found Parker guilty of firing 16 rounds in drive by parking lot shooting aimed at rival gang members at the Meadows apartments 1101 South Avalon on April 28, 2018. A stray bullet killed Johnson while he was playing video games in his bedroom. Johnson was 25.
“He was completely uninvolved with the shooting situation outside,” said Galtelli.
Skycop cameras tracked the car from the west side shooting all across the city to the east end.
“We were able to track the suspect’s vehicle from one side of the city clear across to the other side,” said Galtelli. “Skycop was a major contributor as we had built up the camera system and able to track the suspect.”
“We picked up 16 shell casings and worked for months obtaining witness statements.”
The number of rounds fired toward the apartment building formed the basis for the long sentence Parker received. The jury found Parker guilty of murder first degree and six counts of attempted murder first degree, one count unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle first degree, 15 counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle second degree. Sentences were enhanced by the jury because Johnson had his children in the home.
“Ultimately Demarcus Parker got two life sentences and 835 years on top of that,” said Galtelli.
Galtelli expressed gratitude for the prosecutors’ work.
“They did an excellent job preparing for this case,” said Galtelli. “The important thing is we got closure and justice for the Johnson family. This has been going on for nearly two and one half years and now the family can finally rest.”
Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington thanked investigators and prosecutors in the case.
“Deputy Prosecutors Tom Young and Mike Snell worked diligently for several weeks to evaluate hundreds of pieces of evidence to make their best case,” said Ellington. “West Memphis detectives spent many hours putting the case file together. The jury listened to both sides, and ultimately returned maximum sentences on all counts and recommended they be run consecutively. Sadly, none of this will bring Officer Johnson back to his family, but maybe they will find some comfort that justice was served this week.”