Nearly two years after 51-year-old Raul Ambriz Guillen was murdered, the last of his three killers was found guilty by a Holmes County jury.
William Shane Parker was convicted and sentenced on March 22 after a two-day trial.
Final witnesses in the case included 14th Judicial Circuit Medical Examiner Dr. Jay Radtke and Major Michael Raley, Chief Deputy with the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office. Raley, who served as lead investigator in the case, spent three hours interrogating Parker, who ultimately confessed to shooting Guillen. Parker gave a grisly and detailed account of the crime to Raley in the confession, a recording of which was played for jurors. The state rested their case after Raley testified.
In an unexpected move, Parker took the stand in his own defense. Parker claimed his confession was a lie and that he only confessed to protect his then-girlfriend and co-defendant, Lauren Kay Wambles and their unborn child.
“So you want the jury to believe that today, of all the days, you’re telling the truth?” Prosecutor Peter Overstreet asked Parker during cross examination. “What about all the other stories you’ve told? You want us to believe that you are playing martyr when it is obvious that you killed Raul Guillen.”
By late afternoon, counsel began closing arguments.
“The truth is like the sun,” said Overstreet. “You can shut it out for a time, but it isn’t going away. The truth of the matter is Parker is a killer in cold blood. He shot an innocent man in the back of the head like a coward. William Shane Parker is guilty.”
Public Defender Derek Blount told the jury they must find Parker not guilty because the state didn’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
“I have the utmost respect for the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office,” said Blount. “They do good work. But good isn’t good enough when a man is on trial for murder. The fact is we don’t know what happened, and that is reasonable doubt.”
The jury found Parker guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm and guilty of tampering with evidence after 40 minutes of deliberation.
Parker’s mother, Betty Creed, addressed Chief Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson ahead of sentencing, asking for mercy for her son. “He may be a coward to everyone, but to me, he is my hero. He saved my life when he was a child, and he has good in him. I ask this court to have mercy on Shane so that he may once again be able to be with his children.”
Rosa Ambriz, daughter of the victim, Raul Guillen, also addressed the court, asking that Parker be shown no mercy.
“On July 4, 2020, I lost the person most precious in my life,” said Ambriz. “may the justice of this court be as severe and unending as the pain that William Shane Parker has forever inflicted on my father and his children.”
“It is not this court’s job to determine the goodness or lack of goodness of a person,” said Judge Patterson during sentencing. “It is also not this court’s job to determine the why. It is this court’s job to determine the proper sentencing for the verdict rendered by the jury. This court is not calling Mr. Parker a bad person, but I am going to find that the proper sentence in this case is a sentence of life without parole as to the count of second degree murder with a firearm and the five years consecutive for the count of tampering with evidence.”