A Harford County jury found Robert Lee Zeman III guilty of being an accessory to the 2018 murder of a Havre de Grace man after close to one and a half hours of deliberation Friday.
Zeman, 33, was found guilty of being an accessory to second-degree murder, transporting a gun, possessing a regulated firearm after a disqualifying offense and the unlawful sale of a gun by the panel of nine men and three women.
The jury agreed with prosecutors that Zeman had helped cover up evidence that Joseph Daniel Parrish shot and killed Jeffrey Mark Coudon in Havre de Grace on Nov. 11, 2018. Parrish was convicted for the killing in October, but has since made a request for a new trial and asserted his and Zeman’s innocence.
For Coudon’s mother, who has been present at all Parrish and Zeman’s court proceedings, closure will not come until both are convicted, she said.
“I am not as concerned at this as the other one,” she said, alluding to Parrish’s motion for a new trial. “If someone takes my son away from me, I will feel it for the rest of my life."
According to court documents and testimony, Parrish, 28, had robbed Coudon — who was in a wheelchair — in March of 2018. When Coudon indicated he would testify against him, Parrish shot him twice in his home and “left him to die,” prosecutor Timothy Doory said. Charges were filed in the robbery case, but without a victim, Doory said they were dismissed.
Parrish had threatened Coudon, according to court documents, who bought a taser for protection. After Parrish had been arrested, that “shock-stick” was found in a backpack he directed Zeman, his half-brother, to dispose of over a jail phone. Also in the bag was a bullet — the same caliber as those that killed Coudon.
“When they match up, a shock-stick is no defense against a gun,” Doory told the jury, “and that is part of the reason why Mr. Coudon is dead.”
Defense attorney David Henninger argued that the state’s witnesses’ testimony was inconsistent lies. Beyond that, he averred Zeman should have been charged with accessory to robbery because he did not know about the murder when he went to get the backpack for Parrish.
“His brother told him about the robbery,” Henninger said, “not about the murder.”
Zeman then sold the .380-caliber handgun to a friend, warning him that “it has a body on it” before the sale, Doory said. It was sold out of a “normal sense of greed,” and because “he wanted to help his brother defeat any murder charges against him,” Doory said.
Two additional charges of accessory to a crime against Zeman were dropped because they were predicated on robbery and armed robbery charges that Parrish was not convicted of.
Parrish was convicted of first-degree murder, witness retaliation and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Parrish attended a hearing requesting a new trial on Jan. 30; the judge gave attorneys 20 more days to prepare arguments on the request.
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A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled, and a pre-sentence report was requested. Parrish has 10 days to file a motion to potentially secure new trial.