Jury accepts self-defense rationale in Mother’s Day stabbing

Paige Parkerson and Clifton Barkin

A woman who fatally stabbed her fiancé on Mother’s Day 2012 was set free by a jury in judge Larry Gist’s Drug Impact Court on Friday, June 17, with the panel determining she was not guilty of the crime of murder by reason of self-defense. Although Paige Parkerson admitted to wielding the knife that took the life of 21-year-old Clifton Barkin, the father of her two children and soon-to-be husband, she and attorneys Audwin Samuel and Sean Villery-Samuel argued that she acted in self-defense.

Testimony offered by the prosecution during the four-day trial contended that Parkerson stabbed Barkin to death because she was angry about the flowers and card her fiancé brought home from Walmart close the stroke of midnight as the Mother’s Day holiday was coming to a close. The evidence that Parkerson was capable of being the aggressor in a Mother’s Day assault, according to the prosecutor, was only underscored by her prior actions.

“She stabbed him with a knife exactly one year before,” Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Koby Hoffpauir said of Mother’s Day 2011, supported by Beaumont Police Department records and officer testimony. Hoffpauir further contended that Parkerson couldn’t have wounded her victim as she did – a stab wound to the back – if she was indeed defending herself as she described.

Still, Parkerson’s attorneys asserted their client was in fear for her life, under attack by a man high on synthetic marijuana.

“Hers is a storied life – like roughly one-third of all women – of being slapped, punched, body-slammed and choked by the person that gave them their greatest gift, their children,” Samuel told the jury. “Paige did was she thought she had to do to save her life. Now we’re ‘Monday morning quarterbacking.’ Hindsight is not the measure we are to judge Paige’s actions with.

“Simply because she says she stabbed him does not mean she murdered him. She has shown that she loved and cared for this man. She didn’t believe she did anything wrong. She was defending herself.”

Hoffpauir, with his last words to the jury before they retired to deliberate Parkerson’s fate, argued that just because the defendant said it was so did not necessarily make it true. He pointed to a lack of injuries noted to Parkerson the night of the incident, and again showed photographs supporting his assertions.

“She has a life,” Hoffpauir summed up. “(Barkin) doesn’t anymore. Her story changes constantly. She refuses to take responsibility for anything she’s ever done – ever. Evidence tells Clifton Barkin’s story. He can’t.”

The only prior criminal actions presented before the jury was the stabbing of Barkin exactly one year before on Mother’s Day 2011. What was not entered was prosecution evidence that showed Parkerson being violently aggressive with another woman at the Beaumont Walmart roughly one month before she stabbed her fiancé to death.

Additionally, a warrant was issued for Parkerson’s arrest a year after the fatal stabbing, alleging she assaulted another person by striking a woman in the head with a bottle. Although arrested on that charge in 2013, the charge has yet to be adjudicated, and is scheduled to be heard in court on pre-trial motions June 27 in Jefferson County Court at Law No. 2. She also had a prior theft conviction that was not admitted in court.

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