Parnell Capital Murder Case

Jennifer Holiday relives what it was like seconds after being shot.

She said Eric Parnell fired the shot while driving by on Highway 69, north of Lufkin, and that the blast hit her arm. "There was so much glass in my face and so much blood everywhere that I had to pull over," said Holiday.

Holiday says, moments after that, the accused gunman came up to her SUV, asking if she and her 18-year-old cousin, Anna Franklin, were all right.

She says Anna called 911.

After that, things went from bad to worse.

"And my cousin starts screaming... she knew he had shot me, she knew there was a bullet hole in my arm. And he went back to his truck and got a shotgun, and with no... he didn't say anything, he just held the shotgun up and hit her right in the head with a shotgun," said Holiday.

Holiday says the suspect then took her into the woods, raped her, and then tortured her by burning her with a cigarette and sticking a needle into her scalp.

But, Holiday kept her wits about her, and said she asked the suspect to take her to his house. "I figured that was going to be the only chance to use a phone or find anybody around. By that time, I had lost so much blood I couldn't hardly stay awake," said Holiday.

Once at his house, Holiday said she eventually convinced the man that he didn't shoot her or her cousin, and in fact, he pulled over to help them.

She also had him believing that she loved him, and she would marry him if he let her get treatment for her injuries. "It was the only chance I had to ever possibly get away from him. He told me he was going to kill me, just like he did my cousin, but I knew that was the only chance I had to possibly get some help."

Doctors told Holiday they will have to take things day by day to see if she'll ever have the use of her arm back.

But, as for Anna's mom, she knows that nothing will ever bring back her daughter. "Spend every second you can with them. Make it count, because one day, you're going to wake up and you're going to say they aren't here... they're not here. You don't get that time back. It's like I threw away 18 years and, now, I can't have it back. I can't change it. I can't fix it. I can't have my baby."

A surprise guilty plead today from 32-year-old Eric Parnell has ended jury selection in his capital murder trial. Parnell pleaded guilty to capital murder and aggravated sexual assault.

Parnell confessed to killing 18-year-old Anna Franklin and to shooting and sexually assaulting Jennifer Holiday. At the time of his arrest, he reportedly told police that he was angry with the women because they did not speak favorably to him at a convenience store. Parnell has been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

Court officials say he must serve at least 70 years in prison before being considered for parole. Parnell's unexpected plea came just as both sides were close to choosing a jury in the case.

Reporter Ramonica Jones is following this story and will have a complete report tonight on the East Texas News.


Information for this story was taken from a news report which aired on KTRE-TV on 5/31/2005 by reporter Stuart Burson.