Pet Parrot Witnesses Murder, Spills The Beans
49-year-old Glenna Duram may have thought she had it all figured out when she shot her husband Martin to death and meticulously cleaned up the crime scene. After all, there were no witnesses present inside the house when she fired five times back in May 2015. Or, was there? No matter how well-planned her attack was, she couldn’t have predicted the end of the story.
After eight hours of deliberation, a jury convicted the western Michigan woman of first-degree murder. The chief witness in the case? The couple’s gray African pet parrot who allegedly is capable of uttering an entire argument complete with changing voices, at the end of which he says, “Don’t (expletive) shoot.”
Martin Duram’s ex-wife, Christina Keller, has said she’s heard Bud the bird utter that chilling phrase multiple times following the incident and believes those were Martin’s last words. Keller adopted the bird after Duram’s death and was the first to he had a story to tell.
Duram’s parents also believe Bud was there at the time of the incident. “That bird picks up everything and anything, and it’s got the filthiest mouth around,” Martin’s mother, Lillian, said. “I personally think he was there and he remembers it and he was saying it,” Charles, Martin’s father, added.
Samuel Carr, a San Diego, California, parrot aficionado, said African gray parrots are very intelligent and can easily pick up on conversations, particularly when they witness out of the ordinary interactions and have a story to tell. “There’s a good chance [Bud] basically had a PTSD breakdown and is repeating the last thing his favorite person said,” Carr said. “Is it provable though? That’s tough unless it can be proved his people never used that phrase.”
Michigan State Police investigators initially suspected an intruder the night of Martin’s murder, primarily because Glenna also had a head wound. However, after Glenna recovered from her injuries, suspected of being self-inflicted, she was listed as a suspect in the crime.
Police records soon alleged that Duram shot her husband five times with a gun that belonged to the family, then shot herself in an attempt to end her own life. The couple reportedly had been having financial and gambling problems.
Glenna had left several suicide notes but was quoted by investigators as responding “I know for a fact I didn’t kill my husband” after she was notified she was on the suspect list. She also initially denied writing the notes, but expert handwriting analysis confirmed she had. Police conducted with the couple’s children from previous marriages who indicated the two had a love-hate relationship.
A Michigan prosecutor tried to use Bud’s phrases as evidence in the trial after Martin’s parents were able to capture them on tape, but a judge dismissed it. It wouldn’t be until much later that Bud’s words became pivotal to the case, and were seriously considered by jurists. Glenna, now fully recovered, is due to be sentenced on August 28th the murder and a felony firearm charge.
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