Ongoing trial to determine whether Mother’s Day stabbing death was murder or self-defense

Clifton “JR” Barkin

UPDATE: Not guilty: Jury accepts self-defense rationale in Mother’s Day stabbing

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A Beaumont woman police and prosecutors say murdered her fiancé over a bad Mother’s Day gift in 2012 was in court this week claiming she acted in self-defense rather than out of malice.

Paige Parkerson, just 20 years old at the time of the incident, has been free on bond pending trial but was in Judge Larry Gist’s Drug Court starting Tuesday, June 14, facing charges she stabbed her fiancé to death after he brought her a bouquet of flowers and a card he bought at Walmart just before last call on the evening of Mother’s Day 2012.

“I heard Paige say she didn’t want that sh*t – she was upset,” said Evetta Wright, victim Clifton “JR” Barkin’s mother, during the first day of testimony offered in the case. “‘You can have it,’ she told me. She was real mad.”

According to Wright, Parkerson said it wasn’t Mother’s Day anymore and she wasn’t going to accept any late Mother’s Day gifts from her children’s father, 21-year-old Barkin. The couple would frequently argue, Wright said, so she wasn’t terribly concerned as she left the pair’s home on Pope Street to travel the five minutes it took her to get to her own residence a little more than a mile away.

By the time she got to her front door, however, she immediately regretted the decision to let the pair handle it themselves.

“I was unlocking my door and my cell phone rang,” Wright told the judge and jury. It was Parkerson, she said as a wave of emotion took over. “I was told JR was dead. I said ‘No, I’m on my way.’

“‘He’s gone,’ she said.”

According to Wright, Parkerson was breathing heavily as would someone who just had a hard workout. “She said I was too late. I just knew I had to get there.”

Rushing to the home she just dropped off her son at minutes before, Wright said she was greeted with a sight she’ll never forget – Parkerson standing on the porch sporting a shirt covered with her baby’s blood.

“I did not go to her,” she said. “I saw blood on one side of her shirt, and I knew. Just looking at her shirt, I knew it was bad. I just wanted to remember him like I left him.”

Jamarcus Hooper, Barkin’s brother, was 11 years old at the time. He said he was with his mother when she went to the home on Pope Street shortly after midnight May 14, 2012. He found his brother dead on the couch.

“I shook him to try to wake him up, and then I closed his eyes,” the now 15-year-old recounted. Pictures admitted into evidence showed jurors the gruesome scene in a way the mere words of a child could not describe – Barkin in the sitting position, slumped to one side on the couch, Mother’s Day bouquet of flowers by his side.

“I cried and left the house,” the teen said. “There was blood all over.”

But it wasn’t the first Mother’s Day where Hooper was with his brother after a Parkerson stabbing.

Hooper said the defendant also stabbed Barkin on Mother’s Day the year before. Barkin’s mother gave some of the background behind the first Mother’s Day stabbing.

“I got a call that morning from the jail,” Wright said of Mother’s Day 2011. She thought it was from her son. She was wrong. At that time, Parkerson was being held on charges that she used a knife to assault Barkin because the two were fighting about Parkerson being gone for the three days prior to the incident.

 “He told me, ‘That b*tch tried to kill me last night,’” Wright said.

Because the couple had a child (only 1 at that time), Wright said she told her son to drop the charges on Parkerson and even recommended he bail her out of jail.

“I regret ever saying that,” Wright said. “If he would have did something then, he’d still be here today.”

The following Mother’s Day, Wright wasn’t the only one getting calls from the Parkerson/Barkin household.

Beaumont Police Department Officer Aaron Wilkerson was a dispatcher with the department on Mother’s Day 2012. When he received a call saying medical assistance was needed on Pope Street shortly after midnight, he said, “I could tell it was kind of frantic in the background.”

According to Wilkerson, the call was disconnected before he could transfer the caller to emergency medical services.

“I called back and asked what happened,” he said. The call was disconnected again.

Admitted into evidence were the 911 calls Wilkerson engaged in with the caller, now identified as Parkerson. According to the recordings, the first call came in at 12:10 a.m.

“Me and my baby got in a fight,” the caller stated before the call abruptly ended. When Wilkerson called back one minute later, he got additional info. “I think he’s dead,” the voice on the phone could be heard saying.

He was dead, but attorney Audwin Samuel, representing Parkerson, said it could have just as easily been his client who died that night. According to Samuel, Barkin had been smoking synthetic marijuana just a couple hours before the altercation, and was attempting to assault Parkerson when she was forced to defend herself.

“She stared death in the eye,” Samuel said. “She looked in his eyes and saw something she’d never seen before.”

Samuel said Parkerson was berated and belittled by her fiancé, not only a drug user but a drug dealer, as well.

“He was doing his hustle all night,” Samuel said of the victim’s Saturday plans that spilled over into Mother’s Day Sunday, when Barkin allegedly came home in the wee hours of the morning. By the time he thought about his future wife enough to hit up Walmart just before the clock struck midnight Monday, Parkerson indeed didn’t want his gifts.

“Mother’s Day was over,” he said. “She didn’t want the flowers.” 

According to the defense, Barkin called her “an ungrateful ho” and then “big-faced” her by shoving her in the face with his hand. The two then pushed and shoved and verbally argued until he then went for her neck. Samuel explained that as her fiancé was choking her, Parkerson struggled but “couldn’t get loose. He picked her up and body-slammed her to the floor” before both realized he was bleeding.

“She turned and saw blood everywhere,” Samuel said, “coming out of his mouth, squirting out of his neck.”

Although her version of the facts makes for an interesting story, Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Koby Hoffpauir said, the tale Parkerson is telling is nothing more than fiction trumped up to dodge justice. According to Hoffpauir, over 400 pictures were analyzed in the crime lab, as well as multiple calls to 911 and evidence found at the scene.

“At the end of all these things,” he said, “you’ll see that Paige Parkerson is guilty of murder.” 

The trial is expected to last the rest of the week.

For Wright, the four years since her son’s murder has been hell, and this trial opens wounds that have been festering all this time.

“It turned me upside down,” she said of Barkin’s untimely demise. Wright said that she went into counseling and tried to commit suicide.

“Nothing mattered,” she said. “Everything that happened that evening, over four years ago, I’ve been thinking about what I could’ve done different, what I could have said different, and how different everything could be right now.”

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