A three-member panel has ruled that District Attorney Michael Parker is a resident of Richmond County and is eligible to run for office in the May primary.
The unanimous decision released Thursday came from representatives from the three counties Parker represents.
The five-page decision consists of 18 findings of fact by the panel including Parker’s property holdings in Richmond and Moore counties, corroborating evidence of Parker’s testimony that his primary residence is in Marston and that an investigation into his status as a Richmond County resident was conducted by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office from December 2009 to January 2010.
“The challenger contends that Mr. Parker has not abandoned residency in Moore County at the Terrace Ridge Farm,” the order reads. “The preponderance of evidence shows, however, that Mr. Parker’s domicile before his residency at (redacted address), Marston, N.C., was at (redacted address) Rockingham, N.C. He abandoned that domicile when he sold the home and moved to (redacted address).”
The Daily Journal chose to redact the street number of Parker’s home from its reports due to the nature of his job prosecuting criminals.
“The preponderance of the evidence further shows that Mr. Parker acquired a new domicile at (Marston) in 2004 and actually resides at that place at the present time,” it continues. “Mr. Parker has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that he intends to make his domicile at (Marston) a permanent domicile.”
The decision also states an investigative log of Parker’s comings and goings in Marston, and the testimony of his neighbors which went along with his contention that he spends weekdays in Marston and weekends in Moore County.
The decision also acknowledges Parker’s testimony his wife and two sons spend the majority of their time on the family farm in Moore County, but he considers it a secondary residence.
The challenge to Parker’s candidacy was first filed by Lilesville resident Faye Gathings at the Anson County Board of Elections on Feb. 25.
Parker testified at the hearing that he has been a resident of Richmond County since “about 2001,” and has lived in Marston since 2004.
Parker was appointed to the vacant office of North Carolina Prosecutorial District 20A District Attorney by the Easley Administration in 2004, then was elected to a full-term in 2006.
He is seeking another four years as the lead prosecutor in Richmond, Anson and Stanly counties in 2010.
Parker faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Reece Saunders in the May primary. No Republican candidate registered for the election.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at email@example.com.