Supporters crowd courthouse on first day of murder trial

By Beth Danziger - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - A sea of people crowded the steps of the Powhatan Circuit Court Wednesday - the first day of the Tahliek Taliaferro murder trial.

Cousins Ethan Parrish, 25, and Joey Parrish Jr., 19, are accused of killing the Powhatan teen after an argument last June. They face 17 felony charges between them, including first-degree and attempted murder.

On Wednesday, the prosecution was only able to put two witnesses on the stand before the judge sent everyone home for the day. It plans to call 22 witnesses in all  for each suspect.

Dozens of friends and family from both sides were at the courthouse all day, which is why the sheriff's department says it made a plan for crowd control months ago.

"We are just out here trying to keep everyone peaceful," said Powhatan Chief Deputy Dan Giardini. "We haven't a had any major issues here and we hope it stays that way."

The courtroom seats 50. Deputies say the immediate family will get seated first. They are also using wrist bands to keep track of them each day. The rest of the crowd was let in by a raffle process Wednesday.

Those who weren't called stayed outside the courtroom to show their support. At one point, two family members from different sides of the case had to be separated.

But members of immediate families say the process is helping keep them calm and that finding a seat is the least of their concerns.

The prosecution will continue its case Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

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