An eruption of gunfire at a high school football game in Mobile in August 2019 left players and onlookers running for cover and nine people wounded. The teen charged as the gunman has now been denied a bid for youthful offender status.
Circuit Judge James T. Patterson ruled this week that Deangelo Dejuan Parnell would not be considered a youthful offender. Parnell faces nine counts of attempted murder for the incident, which took place on Aug. 30, 2019, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium during a game between LeFlore and Williamson.
Video from the scene, as well as a series of photos shot by a photographer covering the event for AL.com, show people scrambling and ducking for cover after shots rang out. Six people were treated and released while three more suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Parnell, then 17, turned himself in the next day. He entered a plea of not guilty to nine counts of attempted murder. The incident led to immediate moves to improve security at games by weapons screening and other measures, and prompted at least one lawsuit over security.
Within a few days James Barber, then the city’s executive director of public safety, said police analysis indicated that Parnell had been a bystander to a dispute between two other men. Barber said Parnell had pulled a gun once to end the confrontation, then began firing when it resumed a few minutes later.
The question of youthful offender status has involved a dispute over whether prosecutors should be able to submit school records and prison disciplinary records for consideration. Parnell’s attorney raised several objections, including the argument that the records in question hadn’t been authenticated and included handwritten notes “without any indication as [to] the author.”
Prosecutors argued that judges have “almost absolute discretion” over youthful offender status.
“The Youthful Offender report generated as a part of this investigation by the court in itself is filled with hearsay and is permitted as a…