Jason Arment

Conversation with Eric Parker, the Bundy Sniper, after a Hung Jury

Jason Arment follows up with Eric Parker, the Bundy Sniper, after a federal jury in Las Vegas deadlocks on federal charges, resulting in a mistrial. Parker remains in jail and is scheduled for another trial on June 26, 2017.

In the middle of publishing Arment’s original three-part interview with Parker between February and March 2016, Parker was arrested by FBI agents and placed in solitary confinement where he remained for a month. On April 5, 2016, Parker was released from solitary confinement into the general population of Henderson Detention Center, in Henderson, Nevada. 

[Read all of the original interviews here.]

 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

 

Jason Arment: What’s going on, man?

Eric Parker: Not much, just living life in jail.

 

How many days right now are we talking about exactly?

I try not to think about it; about thirteen or fourteen months.

 

Damn. Damn. That’s a long time to be in jail before a jail. Speaking of trials, this last trial was a mistrial. Can you briefly describe to me what happened in the trial and your involvement?

The Government informant—he’s a guy who showed up, he’s from Arizona—he was basically informing on some stuff going on down at the border. He was one of those border guys who hang out down there. He was basically informing on people who were stopping mules and taking the drugs, robbing mules, and some other stuff like that I heard, but it’s hard to say what’s true and what’s not. He was definitely working for the government. He was a paid informant—he had a handler.

But the other side of that is that I don’t think he went to the Bundy Ranch as an informant. I think he went to the Bundy Ranch because, like everyone else, he was pissed off. And he was fucking crazy. He was nuts.

We all did these interviews, and they were supposed to be for a documentary. It turned out they were FBI undercover—Longbow Productions. The whole nine yards. They had a lighting guy and cameras and this whole production company. And it turned out they were FBI. Didn’t really hurt me. I told the truth. I didn’t have any ill intent when I went to the ranch.

Oh, let’s see, what are some things he said … “I was hellbent on killing federal agents.” “I went down there to put federal agents six feet in the ground.” Crazy stuff. Either he meant it and he was really a pretty dangerous person, or he was just trying to be cool for this documentary. Hard to say, but either way when the jury heard that stuff, it was over for him. They convicted him on each charge.

 

THIS CALL IS FROM AN INMATE FACILITY

 

The video, the things he said in the interview, they were bad. He was talking about sighting in on these guys, picking which one he was going to kill first. But when you watch the video he wasn’t doing any of that. The whole thing was recorded—everyone out there had a camera, so there was just hours and hours of film. And basically he was just standing around doing nothing. At the end of the day it comes down to intent, and the jury believed his intent was not good.

 

Was that what caused the mistrial?

No, a mistrial is just a hung jury.

Two people got guilty verdicts; the guy we just talked about and Todd Engle got obstruction of the due administration of justice and interstate travel in the aid of extortion. Also coming down to intent for Todd. He said somethings on Facebook that made it sound like he went down there with the intent to obstruct the BLM—

 

THIS CALL IS FROM AN INMATE FACILITY

 

—to extort cattle. I didn’t really agree with that. Todd is a good guy, he just said some stupid stuff on Facebook. It wasn’t violent. It wasn’t anything like this other guy. Let’s see, what’s a good example … “We’re going to be staged out of the reservation because the Feds have no jurisdiction there.” So that would kind of imply that you’re up to no good.

The other side of that is when the interviewer asked us where our guns were, they were trying to see if we were hiding our guns. I said, “Our guns were out and right there and we drove right in. We weren’t hiding from anybody, we were going to a protest.” So there is kind of the difference of what we’re going with the intent to do.

As far as the other four—me, Ricky Lovelien, Scott Drexler, and Steve Stewart—the jury was all hung. With ten not guilty and two guilty. With me and Scott it was eight not guilty and four guilty. They couldn’t decide and that caused a mistrial, a hung jury.

 

This is kind of what July4thPatriot ran into. He had, I think, two mistrials and then they nailed him. Is there a limit for mistrials or they can do this forever?

No, there isn’t a limit. I thought there was, and I talked to my lawyer, and he said they can keep doing this until I die. The bottom line is that it sucks. The idea that they can keep going until they find a jury that is willing to convict you is asinine—

 

THIS CALL IS FROM AN INMATE FACILITY

 

But that’s what it is—it’s what we’re all looking at. The prosecutor, as he left the courtroom that day, he told the Las Vegas [Review-]Journal, “We might not even try these six again.” I don’t know what that means, but we’re hopeful—because they could just drop the charges and let us go. The two guys who got ten to two, that’s pretty hard odds to overlook. Me and Scott, eight to four, it’s not like it was one person holding it.

 

So, the jury needs to be unanimous.

Yes. Federally it’s unanimous to acquit, unanimous to convict. You have to have all twelve agree or it’s a hung jury—it’s crazy.

 

As far as demographics, where are they pulling from and who are the jurors?

Clark County. Mostly Las Vegas. If it was a jury of my peers they would go to the national Three Percenter page, grab twelve people, and I’d be home by now.

 

No joke.

And then it’s people willing to be there for two months, three months. It’s hard to get a group of men that are thirty years old, electricians. You’re not really getting your peers is what I’m getting at.

 

So, the government has to roll twelve dice that come up in their favor, from Las Vegas. That could really take a while considering it only takes one person to say, “You know, I just don’t think so.”

It definitely is the case. They weren’t able to do that, and I don’t see them being able to do that. The truth is the truth. I’m not in there trying to hide the fact that I was secretly trying to sell heroin on that bridge. I didn’t have any ill intent. And there were certain things that occurred that made us think what we thought. Whether that being the cows being released. Whether that being the BLM was leaving. Whether that being we’re looking down the wash and we see a bunch of guys in combat gear and we didn’t know who they were. Snipers on the hilltops. We have pictures of all this stuff. There are recordings of all this stuff.

The prosecution’s own witness, the three of them who weren’t BLM or National Park Police or FBI, all said the same things we’ve been saying. They all said that everybody went over there to see the cows get released, because of what the Sheriff said. They all said that they thought they were going to get shot after those people said they were authorized to use lethal force. And one specific thing is that we were all hanging out in a parking lot off of the highway and a lady came running down the highway and screamed that they had guns and were threatening to shoot people in the wash. That’s the only reason I went down to the bridge.

I was sitting there smiling, talking and joking with people, waving flags, waiting for cows to come out until she said, “They’ve been authorized to use lethal force—

 

THIS CALL IS FROM AN INMATE FACILITY

 

and pointing guns at people in a prayer circle in the wash.” And one of their witnesses actually said that, that the reason he walked down to the bridge was because there was a lady yelling, “They’re pointing guns and threatening to shoot people in the wash.”

 

It is very interesting to see, in the information age, how everyone has a phone and everyone has it out and everyone is recording. Conflicts decades ago, for instance Ruby Ridge, I have no idea how they established those narratives. It’s amazing the government admitted to any wrongdoing, considering what’s going on now. From what I understand the federal people on that side of things—we have five minutes left—who work for the government, they are maybe being, according to you and people who were there with you, not necessarily truthful.

I don’t know how to say it. They got up there and lied, that’s the bottom line. They got up there and lied. Especially the law enforcement. I mean there were some one-liners like, “We had guns, people pointing guns at us all day.” Some of them claimed that Metro PD was in the median crying, literally crying. There were some asinine comments that were just so ridiculous and out of this world. And the very next day we’re watching video of these Metro guys in the median, standing there, smiling, talking, absolutely not crying. And then there is footage of a crowd across the street, and nobody is pointing any guns. They’re waving flags.

 

So, when the testimony is divergent from the narrative that is shown on a recording, when that testimony doesn’t line up, ostensibly what is supposed to happen to a person who doesn’t tell the truth on the stand?

Legally, it’s called perjury and they should be arrested. They were quite clear when I went up there if I were to lie about stuff, it would be perjury and I would be charged accordingly. Are they going to charge the Sheriff of Clark County with perjury? Probably not. But he did look pretty foolish.

 

Who can level these perjury charges? Could a common person of Las Vegas insist or does it have to be the DA? In civil court, when you get out, could there be a libel lawsuit leveled against the Clark County Sheriff’s office, or defamation of character—for you, is there recourse?

I think all that stuff should be addressed in civil court after. I was just talking to some people about that. Should the charges get dropped, or should we get acquitted, and the civil suits start flowing, that’s exactly when we’d be able to do something about it. There is always public outrage. I know the newspaper was covering about how the police claimed they were out there crying. I figured if enough people complained about it to the DA they might do something about it, but they protect their own pretty good.

 

If you or I were to lie in a courtroom—is perjury a felony charge?

I think so.

 

That’s a serious thing. I would lose my guns, my ability to vote, my ability to own property in some places. That’s no joke.

Especially if you’re an officer of the law. You’d definitely lose your job.

 

Speaking of losing things, we’re about to lose each other. How are you and your family doing?

We’re doing all right. It’s hard—

 

YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE REMAINING

 

The American people have really come together and helped a lot. They’re helping my wife. They help us with commissary. We get letters from people all over the country, even all over the world—Norway and Brazil—it’s turned into such a huge thing. They’re doing all right, though. But they’d like their dad home.

 

 

Jason Arment

Jason Arment served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Machine Gunner in the USMC. He’s earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Lunch Ticket, Chautauqua, Hippocampus, The Burrow Press Review, Dirty Chai, and War, Literature & the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities; anthologized in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors Volume 2 & 4; and is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Florida Review, and Phoebe. Jason lives in Denver.

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