Are the Profane Words of a Parrot Reliable Evidence in a Murder Trial?
Can a parrot's words be entered as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Ever since a parrot named Bud began squawking “Don’t f***ing shoot,” the relatives of murder victim Martin Duram have claimed the bird was repeating the last conservation between Martin and his wife, Glenna.
She was charged last week with the shooting death of her husband, who was killed last May in the couple’s Sand Lake, Michigan, home.
Glenna Duram shot herself in the head, authorities said. She has since recovered. She pleaded not guilty during a court appearance and is being held without bail.
The parrot has been repeating the same words, which his family says show that Glenna killed her husband during an argument.
“I believe with all my heart that those are the last words of Marty,” his former wife, Christine Keller, told the Detroit Free Press. “I recognize two different voices screaming and yelling and it always ends with ‘Don’t f***ing shoot.”
The parrot’s pronouncements led to widespread media speculation that Bud would make a powerful witness for the prosecution.
It makes Newaygo Prosecuting Attorney Robert Springstead shake his head.
“Only humans can testify,” Springstead told Inside Edition.com on Wednesday. “There will be no parrot testimony.”
A witness must be able to understand and answer questions, he said. The prosecutor has been getting emails from around the country from legal experts and parrot experts, he said.
Whether the parrot’s utterances can somehow be introduced as evidence in Duram’s murder trial is still being reviewed, Springstead said. But “I think that it’s a longshot that this sort of information would rise to the level of being introduced in court,” he said.
He declined to comment on details of the case. But local media, after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, have reported the couple was facing several financial dilemmas, including her gambling debts and the foreclosure on their home.
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