In Brief

Parrot's squawk mooted as evidence in murder trial

Prosecutor believes repetitive phrase, 'don't f****ing shoot', may be dead man's last words

A prosecutor in Michigan is considering whether the words of a pet parrot could be used as evidence to try a woman accused of killing its owner.

Bud, a 19-year-old African grey parrot, has been repeating the words "don't f****ing shoot" ever since his owner, Martin Duram, was shot multiple times and killed in Sand Lake, Michigan, in May 2015, reports The Guardian.

"He's using Marty's voice," said Duram's ex-wife, Christina Keller who now owns the bird.

"It imprinted in his brain, and he can't let it go," Keller told WOOD TV in Detroit. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"96673","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Newaygo County prosecutor Robert Springstead told the Detroit Free Press: "It is something we are going to be looking at to determine if it's reliable to use or if it's information we need to prosecute this case."

However, Springstead acknowledged that calling the bird as a witness may not be possible. He said he "highly doubts there is any precedent" for using a bird's speech as evidence. When a judge asks someone to raise their right hand, he wondered, "to a parrot, are you raising a wing, a foot?"

Nevertheless, he added: "It's an interesting novelty and it's been a great opportunity for me to learn about African parrots." 

It would not be the first time a parrot's statement has been considered for use in a murder trial, notes the Daily Telegraph.

In 1993 a North California defence lawyer argued that an African Grey who said repeatedly "Richard, no, no, no" suggested that his client – namely Gary Joseph Rasp – was not the perpetrator, but the judge ruled that the evidence could not be used and Rasp was convicted.

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