Attorney: Savannah detective used false information to obtain warrants in 2021 murder case

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 4:35 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2023 at 11:09 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A detective sidelined from police work while a man facing trial for murder says the evidence against him is made up.

Now, attorneys for the man accused of a 2021 murder are asking a judge to throw that evidence out.

This is all related to the shooting death of 23-year-old Charles Vinson, whose body was found on Julia Law Street in Savannah in 2021.

Marquis Parrish and three others were indicted for murdering Vinson. Now, Parrish’s lawyers say the information used to get search warrants in the investigation is false.

Now we’re learning that the lead detective in the case has been placed on administrative leave.

Court documents filed this week are asking a judge to suppress some evidence obtained through search warrants, claiming the information police used to get them is false.

According to attorneys for Parrish, Savannah Police Department detective Ashley Wood was assigned to the lead role in the investigation. Court documents say Wood obtained 34 search warrants - all of which “state that Parrish was with co-defendants purchasing cleaning supplies at Walmart” and that Wood viewed security footage confirming that fact.

But last month, when Parrish’s attorneys reviewed the 67 hours of Walmart security camera video, they claimed “Parrish did not appear anywhere on the footage.”

The documents also say that earlier this month, state prosecutors viewed “the Walmart security footage and agreed that Parrish was not at Walmart as Detective Wood claimed.”

Court filings also say that Detective Wood provided other false information to state prosecutors “that was contradicted by the events captured on her Body Worn Camera.”

Those findings led the Savannah Police Department to open an internal investigation of Detective Wood, according to Parrish’s attorneys.

The Savannah Police Department confirmed that Wood has been placed on administrative leave due to an Internal Affairs investigation, but would not confirm what exactly that investigation is about.

The documents from Parrish’s lawyers also claim that “Wood knowingly provided false information to multiple Judges under oath in her search warrant affidavits.”

The Savannah Police Department was asked again on Friday, and they say they do not discuss ongoing investigations.

According to Parrish’s lawyers, he’s been behind bars since May 2021. State prosecutors asked the judge to delay the case so they could test more evidence. Parrish’s lawyers say any delay for that testing is unfair because SPD has had that evidence for nearly two years, but that Wood failed to send it in for lab testing.

On Friday, April 28, Parrish was granted a $2,500 bail.

The SPD internal affairs investigation is ongoing.

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