The parrot of a man who was killed may serve as evidence to incriminate his wife in the crime. Bud, an African grey parrot, might know who killed Martin Durham in his home last May. Could a bird to be the key to the mystery of the death of a man? The parents of its owner think so. A couple in Michigan says the bird repeated what they believe are the last words of their son — “Don’t f**ing shoot!” — hours after his murder.
Parrot a murder witness: ‘Don’t f—ing shoot’: AND LAKE, Mich. (WOOD) — Bud is an African grey parrot with a f... https://t.co/fxhpWEAV5T— Breaking PDX News (@breakingPDXnews) June 6, 2016
“That bird picks up everything and anything,” the victim’s mother, Lillian Duram, said. “And it’s got the filthiest mouth around.”
According to the elderly couple, the parrot mimicked both Martin Durham and his wife, Glenna, in a video that was recorded several weeks after the shooting. The video starts with what sounds like an argument, with the bird changing voices.
“Then, all of a sudden, this came out of the bird’s mouth,” Martin’s father, Charles Duram, told reporters, “I personally think he was there and he remembers it, and he was saying it.”
Martin Duram, 45, was shot and killed in his Michigan home in May, 2015, in what police first thought was a double homicide when they arrived on the scene, NBC News wrote. His wife, Glenna Duram, had also been shot in the head, but she survived her injuries. His body was found just a few feet from hers. Initially, authorities believed Glenna was a victim of the shooting. However, she is now considered a suspect in her husband’s murder.
Bud appears to be reproducing fragments of a discussion in what seems to be a case of murder-attempted suicide that could lead to a murder charge for the victim’s wife.
The Newaygo County Prosecutor, Robert Springstead, says he is aware that the couple has a talking parrot, but said he has not seen the video. Reportedly, Glenna wrote three different suicide notes on the night the murder took place, but she allegedly told investigators she doesn’t remember writing them. As of the time of this report, prosecutors have not filed criminal charges against her.
“Although the law allows charging on probable cause, I don’t like to do that, especially when you have a very serious case,” Springstead explained during a press conference. “When the investigation is done, I like to be satisfied there’s proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Police records show that a request was made to use the parrot as evidence, but Michigan attorney Michael Walsh explained to WOOD-TV that Bud would be inadmissible because there’s no way to figure out where he heard the argument.
“How did it get there?” Walsh said. “If there’s no reliable way of making that determination, you can’t rule out that the bird witnessed a homicide or that the bird witnessed something on TV.”
Doreen Plotkowski, owner of the business “Casa La Parrot” in Grand Rapids, saw the video and said that African grey parrots typically vocalize phrases they’ve heard many times, but the birds also are capable of using words they’ve heard only a few times. She also believes the bird was definitely mimicking an argument between a man and a woman. She added that it is not surprising that these parrots imitate voices, both male and female.
“They are very good at that,” Plotkowski said.”In my mind, it’s something that he’s heard, definitely heard before. And if it’s fresh in his mind, he might even say it more now.”
African grey parrots are highly intelligent and they are commonly kept in captivity by humans as a companion parrot. It is prized for its ability to mimic human speech, and the species is notorious for mimicking noises around their environment and using them tirelessly.
State police have identified Durham’s wife as a suspect in a murder and attempted-suicide, suggesting she shot her husband five times before turning the family gun on herself.
[Photo via Shutterstock]