SUART, Fla. - Claude Davis has said he was there when Andrea Parsons was murdered and he helped to bury her body, but he will not be prosecuted in the case.
November 16, 1993, Claude Davis was arrested on probable cause for false imprisonment, charges stemming from the disappearance of Andrea Parsons earlier that year. His charges were dismissed.
"Anything stemming from that crime cannot be prosecuted," explained Ellen Roberts, an attorney with Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey and Fronrath. She is a former prosecutor who worked on traffic homicide cases for 26 years.
"That speedy trial starts ticking, the minute they are in custody," she said.
The clock ticked until six months later. Davis was not prosecuted on crimes against Parsons during that time.
Current Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl says there was insufficient evidence. In other words, by May 24, 1994, time had run out on getting the necessary evidence and the charges were dropped.
The right to a speedy trial is a Constitutional right. Davis did not waive that right.
"And it's something that as a prosecutor you abide by that strictly, and unfortunately you know, there are cases that slip through the cracks. And aren't prosecuted. And it's a tragedy, a horrible tragedy, but there is absolutely nothing that can be don't about it," Roberts said.
Bakkedahl says of Davis were to commit perjury in some future official court proceeding he could be subject to prosecution for that. For example, if he were to give false testimony all of these years later in court, it would fall outside that initial "episode" of murder so he could be charged. But he will not be charged for Parson's murder or kidnapping
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