Greenwood PD addresses fear of retaliation after man sentenced for murdering potential witness

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GREENWOOD, SC (WSPA) – Law enforcement said he was killed for doing the right thing.

Montavious Parks, 33, of Georgia pled guilty Monday to shooting his partner in an armed robbery six years ago for coming clean to police about what they had done.

“Mr. Parks did enter a guilty plea of voluntary manslaughter,” confirmed Yates Brown, deputy solicitor of the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Brown explained to 7 News that Tavaris Lester was a victim of brutal retaliation.

In 2012, Parks and another man named Blake Parrish allegedly heard through word of mouth that Lester was talking to police about the crime.

Angry, police said they both went to a Moss Creek Lane home and shot Lester in the back as he was playing cards.

“In this case, Mr. Lester did the right thing,” Brown said. “He came forward, based on his dad and granddad’s advice. They wanted him to do the right thing and mr. Lester did do the right thing.”

Parks was sentenced to 26 years in prison on Monday.

It’s a sad case that police said is actually rare, and they don’t want scenarios like this to stop people from speaking up.

“Very few times have we seen them actually act and go after somebody like this to where somebody got hurt or killed,” said Jonathan Link of the Greenwood Police Department.

Link explained that they do however see a lot of people threatened after witnessing crimes and they understand their fear.  He does want people to know that Police can help.

“The longer they keep quiet, the longer that person is living next door to you and you have to live in fear of:  Is a stray bullet going to go through my house and strike me? Am I going to get shot when I go outside? Are they going to hurt me when I go to the grocery store?” said Link.

He laid out the following options for 7 News:

Call Crime Stoppers, which takes information anonymously and passes it along to police.

Send Greenwood Police a Facebook message, which they say is always kept confidential.

Fill out a tip form on the city’s website under the police department page.

“We’d like to put them in jail so we know that they’re not going to hurt anybody else,” Link said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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