May 21, 2024

Marquis Parrish, the man charged with murder in connection with the May 2021 death of Charles Vinson, has filed a lawsuit against Ashley Wood, the former Savannah Police detective who falsified information, including security footage and text messages, in multiple search warrant applications tied to the murder case.

Parrish detailed the hardships he experienced in the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District for the Southern District of Georgia, stating that the two years he was held in custody before being granted bail in April of this year forced his family into homelessness.

While Parrish was incarcerated, his wife Tyesha Love gave birth to their child. As a result of Parrish’s arrest and incarceration, Parrish and Love were “forced into hiding because of the dangers of the false allegations.”

The complaint alleges the Savannah Police Department acted with “deliberate indifference” to Parrish’s constitutional rights, by

  • Failing to adequately train its police officers on the importance of not altering material evidence in criminal investigations and the severe consequences that may result otherwise;

  • Failing to adequately train its police officers on how to receive, process and respond to requests from prosecutors for evidence, including exculpatory evidence, in criminal cases;

  • Failing to train its officers on the proper way to secure search warrants without the necessity of falsifying information.

A spokesperson for the law firm that filed the suit on behalf of Parrish, the Manly Shipley Law Firm, said local and federal rules don’t allow for comment.

Internal Investigation: Savannah Police detective under review over search warrants in Charles Vinson murder case

In Session: District Attorney drops murder charges after evidence challenged

Officer Fired: Savannah Police Department fires detective who lied in search warrants

U.S. District Court Southern District of Georgia

U.S. District Court Southern District of Georgia

Evidence in murder case challenged by public defender

In April 2021, a Chatham County Grand Jury indicted Parrish on two counts of felony murder charges, malice murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

According to court documents, Wood obtained 34 search warrants related to the investigation between early May and early June 2021. The requests included warrants to search Vinson’s residence, car, cell phone and his Facebook profile. Wood’s search warrants state that Parrish and others charged in the case purchased cleaning supplies at Walmart with three other people.

In May, the department launched an internal investigation into Wood, and in June, SPD fired Wood. At the time of the investigation, Wood was assigned to the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) as a task force officer, according to the probe. She was hired by the Savannah Police Department in February 2017.

On June 16, after the evidence in the case was challenged by Parrish and his public defender, Chatham County Assistant District Attorney Brian DeBlasiis dropped the murder charges against Parrish.

In a phone call, a City of Savannah spokesperson declined to comment, saying the city doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Drew Favakeh is the public safety and courts reporter for Savannah Morning News. You can reach him at AFavakeh@savannahnow.com.

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Man who faced murder charges sues former Savannah Police detective

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