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Aberdeen man accused of killing 61-year-old from Havre de Grace remains held without bail

Contact Reporterebutler@theaegis.com

An Aberdeen man accused of murdering a 61-year-old Havre de Grace resident last fall remains held without bail after a hearing Monday in Harford County District Court.

Judge Susan Hazlett said state law precludes her from considering a bail for Joseph Daniel Parrish because he has a pending charge of armed robbery. Even without that case, she said, she would not set a bail for him because of the nature of the charges.

“Murder is a very serious charge, and with retaliation and failure to comply with court conditions, there are no conditions I can impose to ensure the safety of the community and ensure your appearance in court,” Hazlett said. “Should the house of cards come crashing down, I will reconsider.”

Parrish, 27, of the 200 block of Schmechel Street, is facing charges of first- and second-degree murder related to the death of Jeffrey Mark Coudon, who was found shot in his apartment in the 200 block of North Washington Street in Havre de Grace on Nov. 11.

Coudon was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center for his injuries, where he died Nov. 14. The next day, the state medical examiner conducted an autopsy and determined his death to be a homicide, police said.

Parrish is also facing 10 other counts, including retaliation against a witness, destroying evidence, armed robbery, home invasion and related firearms and theft charges, according to electronic court records. The first-degree murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life without parole. He is due in court again May 16.

Robert Lee Zeman III, 33, of the 400 block of South Washington Street in Havre de Grace, was arrested last week and is charged with accessory to murder and misdemeanor firearms charges, according to online court records. Accessory to murder is a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in Maryland. He was also denied bail at a hearing last week, and a preliminary hearing for his case is scheduled for May 15.

Assistant State’s Attorney Cindi Atkins on Monday said Parrish has been arrested 19 times and been convicted 15, on charges of rogue and vagabond, disorderly conduct, failure to obey a lawful police order and fourth-degree sex offense, among other offenses.

“The nature of the charges gives the state great concern he is a flight risk,” Atkins said. “Even if the charges are not what they are today, he would be a flight risk.”

The judge also noted Parrish has failed to appear in court twice, has been held in contempt of court once and has violating his probation seven times.

Public Defender Kelly Casper, who is representing Parrish, said her client suffered a traumatic brain injury after an accident and has a seizure disorder, and lives in Aberdeen with his caretaker.

She asked Hazlett to consider a reasonable bail, since the case against her client is based on testimony of witnesses whose credibility is questionable.

Parrish was charged because the gun used in the murder was found among his belongings, she said.

“My client was not on the street at the time it was found,” Casper said. “We have no idea how many people touched the firearm or if my client ever touched it.”

Parrish was incarcerated in the Harford County Detention Center for a robbery that occurred Dec. 13 at the time the gun was recovered.

Investigators reviewed Parrish’s jail calls, including several to Zeman, who Parrish had asked to retrieve some of his personal items, including a backpack.

Zeman was arrested last week after he was developed as a suspect in an illegal gun sale.

Havre de Grace investigators conducted an interview with Zeman after his arrest on April 16 in which he told police he had sold a handgun belonging to Parrish to another individual.

An individual who had witnessed the sale previously told police Zeman told the buyer “there was a body on the gun,” meaning it had been used to kill someone, according to charging documents for Parrish filed in District Court, although Zeman denied saying that to the buyer in his interview with police.

Zeman confirmed to police that the handgun used in the murder of Coudon had been in the back pack of Parrish, according to charging documents.

Aegis Editor S. Wayne Carter Jr. contributed to this article.

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