Bond hearing scheduled for man serving life sentence in double slaying

troot@thesunnews, akelley@thesunnews.comFebruary 13, 2013 

— A man serving a life sentence for the shooting deaths of an Horry County Couple will be in court Thursday for a bond hearing, according to the 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s office.

Richard Gagnon, 40, who was granted a new trial in January by Circuit Court Judge Steven John, will have a bond at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Horry County Courthouse in Conway. It’s not clear when he will be tried again.

Gagnon was convicted in the deaths of Diane and Charles Parker Sr., who were found shot to death April 12, 2005 in their home off S.C. 90 near S.C. 22. He was ordered to serve two life sentences for two murders and 30 years in prison for first-degree burglary with the sentences to run concurrently.

But, Gagnon requested a new trial last fall citing new evidence in his case.

In January, John ruled that Gagnon deserved a new trial following testimony from Robert Troy Taylor, who was convicted on unrelated charges in Georgetown County and had served time in prison alongside Robert Mullins.

According to Taylor, Mullins said he lied about Gagnon when he insinuated in court that Gagnon had confessed to his part in the murders. John ruled that Taylor’s testimony was new evidence and met the criteria to grant Gagnon a new trial.

“Mr. Taylor’s testimony was discovered after trial and could not have been discovered before trial in the exercise of due diligence because of the dates that Taylor was imprisoned with Mullins and Gagnon,” John wrote in the order. “The court finds the testimony to be material because it squarely attacks the credibility of a major piece of evidence the state used in its case against Richard Gagnon, and because it is the only testimony of this type existing, it is not merely cumulative and impeaching.”

During an appeal hearing in October, Taylor testified that he served time in the same jail as Mullins and that Mullins had told him at least four times between 2006 and 2007 that he lied and that Gagnon was wrongfully in prison because of it. Taylor said he didn’t come forward sooner because he would have been called a snitch.

He said he had put Mullins’ story out of his mind until he met Gagnon at Lee Correctional Institute and decided that he couldn’t stand to see an innocent man stay in prison if he could do something about it.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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