Talking pet parrot will not be called as witness to Michigan murder

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(WOOD/CNN) — A Michigan county prosecutor said he has no plans to use a African gray parrot as a witness that was a pet to a man that was shot to death.

That’s no surprise to Muskegon attorney and legal expert Michael Walsh, who said there’s no way to prove what the bird is mimicking in his former owner Martin Durham’s voice happened the day of the shooting.

“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.”

Durham’s wife Glenna is a suspect in the case. His first wife now has the parrot, named Bud, who had owned him before the divorce.

“I don’t think he’d be able to help the case, but I think it puts the emotion out there,” she said, “like there’s a dead man there.”

Bud was recorded repeating words that the man’s family believes it heard just before their son was shot dead. The victim’s wife, who was also shot, survived.

The bird, they say, mimicked both their son and his wife. They took a video of the parrot several weeks after Durham was shot. It starts what sounds like an argument, with the bird changing voices.

The video was shown to the owner of Casa La Parrot in Grand Rapids. “It’s definitely an argument between a man and a woman,” Doreen Plotkowski said. She said it’s not unusual for African gray parrots to mimic male and female voices.

State police identified the wife Glenna Durham as a suspect in a murder-attempted suicide, suggesting she shot her husband five times before turning the gun on herself. They said say she left three suicide notes and that the gun belonged to the family.

But in an interview with police after she recovered, she denied killing him, saying she remembered nothing until she was in the hospital.

The prosecutor in the case said that he plans to make a decision on charges in two to three weeks.

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