By CARL SMITH
Former MSU instructor David W. Parvin was convicted of the 2007 murder of his wife, Joyce Parvin, and sentenced to life in prison at the conclusion of his trial Friday in Aberdeen.
The jury began deliberations shortly before lunch and emerged with a unanimous verdict after almost three hours of discussion.
Parvin, 71, was escorted from the courtroom following his sentencing.
“The jury certainly followed the evidence in the case,” said Lead Prosecutor Paul Gault. “This won’t bring back a lost loved one, but at least the family can have a sense of justice.”
At the time of the incident, the couple lived in an area of Aberdeen populated by beavers and other animals. Both Parvins would routinely fire at the animals to drive them away from their residence, Parvin testified.
On the morning of Oct. 15, 2007, law enforcement and emergency responders received a 911 call from the Parvin residence. Joyce was fatally wounded by a 12-guage shotgun’s discharge.
Originally ruled accidental, investigators continued to work the case and eventually David Parvin was arrested in 2009.
Earlier in the trial, Parvin testified the blast which killed his wife was caused in an accidental fall, but previous testimony from Grant Grahm, a senior crime analyst for the state, said digital reconstructions created from crime scene evidence and the autopsy report placed the shotgun in the firing position of a 6-foot man approximately 4 feet away from Joyce Parvin while pointing at a downward angle. Parvin testified the shotgun blast originated 6 inches away from Joyce while the gun pointed either parallel to the floor or slightly elevated.
“How can that happen parallel, much less pointing upward?” asked Assistant Prosecutor Chip Mills during opening arguments.
Throughout the trial, Parvin’s Attorney Timothy Ervin motioned for dismissals and said a change to the autopsy report was made shortly before the trial began was made to fit the prosecution’s case. Gault said the error Ervin pointed out was simply a typo. The original notes, Gault said, were the same as in the final report.
During the defense’s final arguments, Ervin showed the wound track — a visual description of how the blast traveled through Joyce Parvin’s body — to the jury and said the shot traveled on a near-parallel track. Gault would later tell the jury experts track gunshots from the point of origin, not how they track through the body, because of the unpredictable nature of the tracking itself.
The 911 tape was also played to the court during the state’s final argument. Parvin testified Thursday he called 911 immediately after his wife was shot, but he did not touch or attempt to save her.
“That 911 tape when Joyce Parvin was killed was when the lie began,” Gault said. “It needs to end today.”
After the verdict was read and Parvin was taken into custody, Ervin told Judge Paul Funderburk his client was steadfast in all conversations with him about the incident and said he did not intend to shoot his wife. He also said post-trial motions would be filed as soon as possible, but would not comment on the case after court was dismissed.