Donna Redding during a preliminary hearing. (George Gardner, The Greenville News)
Greenville County (The Greenville News) - A Marietta woman accused of killing her common-law husband told authorities her husband had used the Lord's name in vain too many times and that she shot him because "Jesus told me to do it," according to court testimony Wednesday.
Donna Marie Redding began quoting "all kinds of Scripture" and told investigators that she killed her husband, Gary Dean Parnell, after the two had argued over whether to play rock or country music and over who would roll a marijuana cigarette, Greenville County Sheriff's investigator Chris Miller testified in court.
In her confession, Redding, 35, told investigators that Parnell "is the devil" and that Jesus had told her to kill him, Miller testified during a preliminary hearing in which the prosecution presents for the first time a general outline of its case against a defendant.
"She was asked why he was the devil," Miller testified. "She said, 'Because he says the Lord's name in vain.'"
Redding's defense attorney, Scott Robinson, asked Miller if anyone saw Redding shoot Parnell and whether any wiring cable that might have been used to threaten her was found at the desk where Parnell was found slumped over in a chair.
Miller testified that Redding told investigators that Parnell had not made any threatening gestures before she shot him.
On the afternoon of April 6, the 52-year-old Parnell was found slumped over in a chair with a shotgun wound to the stomach in the home he and Redding shared on 172 Parnell Bridge Road in the mountains of Marietta, Miller testified.
Outside the home, Parnell's brother and great-nephew were working on unclogging a natural spring that was the source of water to the household, Miller testified.
The nephew went inside for a short while and saw Parnell working at his desk in a master bedroom welding wire, and both Parnell and Redding seemed fine, Miller testified. Fifteen minutes later, the nephew and brother heard a loud noise and thought Redding, who was known to burn garbage outside, might have thrown an aerosol paint can into a fire, Miller testified.
The two went in to check and Redding told them she had killed Parnell, Miller testified.When authorities entered the bedroom, they found Parnell with a shotgun wound to his upper abdomen, slumped over in his desk chair and his feet under a desk drawer, Miller testified.
On the bed were a shotgun and pellet gun and two shotgun casings, one spent and the other unused, he testified.Redding was arrested and charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Chief Magistrate Diane Cagle ruled that prosecutors have enough probable cause that the charges should be passed along to a grand jury to consider indictment.