Convicted murderer Richard Gagnon gets retrial - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Convicted murderer offered retrial gets $50k bond

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Gagnon was serving time for two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of an Horry County couple, Diane and Charles Parker Sr., who were found dead in their home off of SC 90  on April 12, 2005. Gagnon was serving time for two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of an Horry County couple, Diane and Charles Parker Sr., who were found dead in their home off of SC 90 on April 12, 2005.
Richard Gagnon sat in court in January (Source: WMBF News Reporter Monique Blair) Richard Gagnon sat in court in January (Source: WMBF News Reporter Monique Blair)
Courtroom filled as Gagnon lawyers fought for a retrial (Source: WMBF News Reporter Monique Blair) Courtroom filled as Gagnon lawyers fought for a retrial (Source: WMBF News Reporter Monique Blair)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A man convicted of murder and granted a retrial in the case has been released from prison.

Richard Gagnon was granted a $50,000 surety bond Thursday afternoon. His lawyer knew his release from police custody would not be immediate because bond was granted so late in the day.

By Friday a bondsman was able to post 10 percent and Gagnon was released from J. Reuben Long Detention Center to breath air on the outside.

Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said in this situation, since Gagnon has been granted a retrial the evidence must be presented as if they are seeing it for the first time and he was never committed of the crime.

Now that Gagnon is released, he will be required to check in with the pastor who stood up as a reference for him once a week and stay in town - as well as be in constant contact with his attorney. He will not be required to wear a tracking device.

This major case involving the murder of a Conway couple resurfaced inside an Horry County Courthouse when brand new evidence surfaced in the case. Before that, convicted murderer Richard Gagnon was serving two life sentences but claiming he was not involved in the shooting deaths of Diane and Charles Parker Sr., who were found dead in their home off of SC 90 on April 12, 2005.

Horry County Judge Steven John heard from Gagnon's defense team, who filed a motion for a retrial, in January 2013.

"Having done this 22 years, it's bad to say it's probably one of two cases I've handled, and I've handled thousands of them, where I believe the client is not guilty. Clearly not guilty," Chief Appellate Defender Robert Dudek said.

The Deputy Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says he has not seen a case like this in 14 years. It's all because of the newly discovered DNA evidence. The new evidence is the fourth DNA sample investigators found at the crime scene back in 2005 that wasn't linked to a person until years after the gruesome murder.

The blood was a match for Bruce Hill. This new piece of information regarding the DNA sample was not available until after Richard Gagnon was convicted for the double murder. Hill was charged and convicted for his involvement in the murder in September of 2011.

Hill is now serving time for two counts of murder and one count of burglary in the first degree. Hill was extradited from Tennessee, where he is currently incarcerated, because the defense team expected him to testify that he has never had any connection to Gagnon. But, when he sat down at the witness stand, he said he didn't want to answer any questions.

"Is it your intention to claim the protection given to you by the fifth amendment rights to the Constitution of the United States of America that you refuse to answer those questions?," Judge Steven asked.

"Yes, it is your honor," Bruce Hill replied.

Judge John allowed Hill to exercise his fifth amendment right.

Gagnon's defense attorneys' argue the original jury didn't realize who else was involved in the crime, and now that someone else has been convicted, it could impact a jury's view of Richard Gagnon. Solicitor Richardson says the judge's decision will make the difference between going back to square one with a new trial, or Gagnon continuing to serve his life sentence.

"Today [Monday] is very important. If the judge grants their motion for a new trial, if the judge decides that this is newly discovered evidence, he will remand that case back for a new trial," explains Richardson.

Gagnon was granted that retrial.

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