FARMINGTON – One of the men charged with murder in connection with the May 2010 death of former Green Beret Donis “Ike” Clanton is on trial this week.
Jason Parrent, 29, of Farmington, is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. The trial began Monday and will continue today in St. Francois County before Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte.
Trevor Grice, 21, is also charged with second-degree murder, second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Clanton, 44, who became handicapped after his honorable discharge from the military, was found dead at his Farmington home May 6, 2010. According to court records, an autopsy determined Clanton died of closed head trauma/blunt force trauma consisting of two blows to the left ear and at least four other blows to the head.
Clanton’s mother, Carol White, was the first to take the stand. She was at her home a block away with Clanton’s home health aid when she saw an ambulance head in the direction of her son’s home that morning.
She talked about how Clanton had served in the military 13 years including during Operation Desert Storm. He was highly decorated and honorably discharged. He became disabled about eight years before his death, suffering brain damage after a 14-foot fall on a cement slab.
The injury changed his personality. She said he would say “hi” to everyone and everyone was his “friend.” He suffered from left side neglect where he wasn’t aware of what his left arm was doing. He had trouble making decisions and often had trouble walking.
She said two days before his death, Clanton called her about a 13-year-old boy who was wanting to mow his grass. White, who was Clanton’s appointed guardian and handled his finances, told Clanton to bring the boy over. She explained to the boy that Clanton had had two brain surgeries after an injury. She told him he could mow.
She said later on, Clanton asked for $60 for advanced payments for the boy who wanted to go paintballing. White said no but gave Clanton $7 which jurors later learned was reportedly given to Parrent and Grice to buy vodka.
During the trial, the now 15-year-old juvenile testified he went with Grice and Parrent to Clanton’s house about dark. He said the men were drinking vodka and he took a couple drinks “but it was nasty.”
He had trouble remembering some things about the night. He said he did not remember the men leaving to get more vodka.
He does remember Parrent getting mad because Clanton touched his thigh. The boy said he saw Clanton nudge Parrent and then Parrent hit Clanton four to five times in the face. He said Clanton was bleeding above his eyes and he never regained consciousness.
Someone told him to throw away the couch pillows. He said he remembers Grice saying he didn’t want Parrent to go down for this alone. He said Grice then went inside alone.
After he testified, the juvenile’s mom who is also Parrent’s sister, testified. She said during the night Parrent woke her up and asked her to check on someone he was partying with in the neighborhood. She said her son was on the couch asleep when she and Parrent walked to Clanton’s home.
There, she saw Clanton snoring and holding an alcohol bottle. She said she didn’t see blood or any reason to call 911. She was aggravated that he woke her up seemingly to show her someone drunk and she left.
She said later on, Parrent woke her up again and told her she needed to call 911. She ran over to the house with him. Clanton had a mark on his head and wasn’t breathing so she called 911 from her cell phone.
Dispatchers gave Parrent instructions on how to perform CPR and he performed CPR until an ambulance arrived.
The juvenile’s father testified that on May 8, he found a watch in his youngest son’s room on top of a tall dresser. It was later determined the watch belonged to Clanton. The man said Parrent had stayed at his home several times and Grice had also stayed at their home a few times.
Neighbors and a nearby Trimfoot worker testified about the things they heard and saw the night of May 5 and the morning of May 6 before an ambulance arrived. One man testified he heard a panicked female voice about midnight.
Parrent initially told police that he came to Clanton’s home the morning of May 6, 2010, to do yard work. He said through the door, he could see Clanton on the floor. He said he called 911 from his sister’s house and then started performing CPR.
While being questioned at the police department, he added that he, Grice and a juvenile were at Clanton’s house the night before where he said they consumed alcohol.
Parrent then confessed to hitting Clanton. He said during an argument, Clanton punched him on the left side of the face. He said it didn’t hurt, but he stood up and punched Clanton four to five times.
He said they reconciled and about 10 minutes later and Clanton passed out.
However, Grice and the juvenile said Clanton immediately became unconscious and never regained consciousness. Grice admitted he struck Clanton while Clanton was unconscious.
Grice told police he wiped down bottles, soda cans, and glasses to get rid of fingerprints. He said he and the juvenile stole a cell phone, a military coin, DVD player, silver utensils, and headphones. A MIA/POW flag and a watch were also missing.
Police found two couch pillows with reddish stains in the trash can.
During opening statements, District Defender Wayne Williams told the seven-man, seven-woman jury that he expected Parrent would testify Clanton offered to host a Cinco de Mayo party at his residence.
Williams said Parrent’s story is Clanton placed his hand on Parrent and Parrent told him he was not into that. Clanton hit Parrent in the jaw but not hard. Williams said Parrent was so enraged that he reeled around and hit him three to five times, causing Clanton to fall back.
He said later the two reconciled and Clanton went to sleep. He said about two hours later, Parrent heard a commotion and saw Grice with a funny look on his face and Clanton with blood on his face.
Williams told jurors Parrent had no knowledge of anyone taking Clanton’s property. Williams said Parrent will admit he misled officers because he was scared.
Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.