When then 28-year-old Arris Parker tried to break up a fight on August 3, 2022, he never though he would be fighting the Kenosha DA’s office to determine where he would spend the next 20 years of his life – in prison, or as a free man. But that is exactly what Mr. Parker says happened. The same day that he was arrested for trying to help quell a disturbance, one where someone was stabbed, Parker was charged with two serious felonies.
Without waiting even 24 hours, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Emily Gaertner charged Parker with physical abuse of a child – intentionally causing bodily harm, and strangulation and suffocation, both serious felonies. Mike Graveley’s office wanted to put Parker in the Wisconsin Prison System for 20 years.
Court commissioner Larry Keating gave Parker a no-cash bail on August 4, 2022 and Parker was released on bail. “They never should have charged me,” Parker told KCE Wednesday afternoon. “We tried to tell the prosecutor three times to dismiss the case. They wouldn’t dismiss it.” Parker says that he was offered a few different plea deals but he said there was no chance he would plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit.”
Parker said he was very thankful to the judge who presided over his case for being fair, unbiased and clear. “I give Judge Dougvillo an A+. It was a priority to him for me to get a fair trial and I did. He was the referee, just like he said he was gonna be.”
Although she didn’t charge the case, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Sydney Starr prosecuted for the jury trial. The case only took one day. As for Starr, Parker gave her a letter grade of C. “She tried, but at the end of the day, she suggested that all of the time between my arrest and the trial gave me time to make things up. I told the truth.”
Seasoned criminal defense attorney Mike Barth represented Parker, who took the stand in his own defense. “I told the truth and looked the jurors in the eyes. They paid attention very carefully for the trial. When they reached a verdict, I could see it in their eyes that there were going to set me free,” said Parker. That’s when the judge said the words any criminal defendant wants to hear, “not guilty.” Then for count 2, “not guilty” again.
When asked what he wants Kenosha County to know, Parker told KCE:
“I want everyone to know, even if the chips are stacked against you, fight for your innocence. Don’t be afraid to take a case to trial.”
“My father and step father both died this year , my mother and I have lived in Wisconsin for 11 years now, she currently stays in Racine with my grandma and sister, I’m out here by myself for the most part, I work full time for McDonald’s on Pershing, and see a therapist 1-2 times a week eve since the incident I went to trial for . I’m a local recording artist (rapper) and Author of a book I wrote called “Uptown Chronicles” , I work out 3 days a week and ride my bike everyday, I have a 9 year old daughter,” said Parker.