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Edna woman says shooting was self-defense

By Jon Wilcox
Feb. 14, 2017 at 10:57 p.m.

Edna police found Jarrett Parker, 33, shot to death in the 200 block of East Church Street in Edna. Authorities said his girlfriend reported the shooting.

Edna police found Jarrett Parker, 33, shot to death in the 200 block of East Church Street in Edna. Authorities said his girlfriend reported the shooting.   Angela Piazza for The Victoria Advocate

An Edna woman who fatally shot her boyfriend Feb. 7 told police she acted in self-defense.

On the morning of the shooting, Amber Sorensen, 34, told investigators she picked up and pointed a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol at Jarrett Parker in self-defense, according to a news release by the Edna Police Department.

Police found the 33-year-old Edna man dead with a gunshot wound to his chest inside a home in the 200 block of East Church Street. Sorensen had called 911, telling the dispatcher she had shot Parker. She has not been arrested in connection to the homicide.

If homicide charges are pursued, prosecutors and defenders will look to the Texas Penal Code's definition of self-defense, said Terry Breen, Bee County assistant district attorney.

Breen said his office will not be handling Sorensen's case.

If the Edna Police Department recommends charges, the case will fall to Jackson County District Attorney Pat Guenther, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

"You have the right to defend yourself if you're in danger," Breen said.

According to Section 9.32 of the Texas Penal Code, which is titled "Deadly Force in Defense of a Person," a person is justified in killing another if they perceive their life is in danger.

The Penal Code section would also absolve a killing if it was done to prevent aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery or aggravated robbery.

"If she had a right to kill the guy, and she killed him, there's no crime," he said.

A verbal provocation, such as a threat or insult, is not a valid reason for killing in self-defense, Breen said.

Although the Edna Police Department has not said whether domestic violence played a role in Parker's death, such evidence could be valuable in establishing the killing was done in self-defense.

Although Ginny Stafford, CEO of Mid-Coast Family Services, was unable to theorize about the history of Parker's relationship with Sorensen, she said just the act of purposefully causing a partner to fear for their safety constitutes domestic violence.

"Threatening, intimidating, coercing - any attempt to control somebody else's behavior or life, whether it's through words or physical acts, is domestic violence," she said. "Love should not be about controlling each other."

So far, neither investigators nor friends have publicized any evidence that would hint that the couple's relationship was violent.

Instead, several friends have praised Parker's character.

Parker gave years of his life to the U.S. Air Force, served in the Iraq War and later volunteered at the Crossroads Area Veteran Center, a close friend, Mike Allen, said in a previous Advocate story.

Although Allen said he never witnessed or heard of relationship issues between the couple, Stafford said such problems are often hidden.

"Most of us do have two sides," said Stafford, adding she could not speculate about their relationship.

Abusive relationships rarely begin with instances of deadly violence, Stafford said, but when it comes to domestic violence, every rule has an exception.

"What usually happens is the abuser is the one pointing the gun," she said.

One thing is for certain, she said.

"This was a tragic situation," she said. "There were no winners here."


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