Last spring, Martin Durham was shot and killed in his home in Michigan. His wife was also shot but she survived.
Nobody was ever prosecuted for the murder, but a few weeks ago, footage began circulating online of possibly the most bizarre witness ever – an African grey parrot called Bud. And that changed everything.
It’s thought that Bud has been repeating the final words of the victim since the killing – ‘don’t fucking shoot’.
And those three words may just blow a murder case wide open. Bud may now be called as a witness.
Skip to 1:00 to hear Bud’s haunting words:
It was originally believed that the killing was part of a double murder – until Durham’s wife, Glenna, woke up several hours later.
Michigan State Police now believe Glenna to be the main suspect in what was intended to be a murder-suicide, but Glenna stoutly denies all accusations.
Bud the parrot, however, may just have evidence that says otherwise.
Martin’s relatives believe Bud overheard the couple arguing and has been parroting back their final words.
Footage shows the parrot apparently switching between a male and female voice, repeating:
Where will I go?
Don’t fucking shoot.
While prosecutors are still debating on whether the parrot’s words are admissible in court, they’re apparently considering using Bud as a witness.
Robert Springstead, Newaygo County prosecutor, told the Detroit Free Press:
It’s an interesting novelty and it’s been a great opportunity for me to learn about African parrots.
It is something we are going to be looking at to determine if it’s reliable to use or if it’s information we need to prosecute this case.
He did, however, rule out asking the bird to take the witness stand, according to the Telegraph.
Which makes sense. We’d assume it would look kind of ridiculous – like this:
— dogsofinsta (@dogsofinsta) March 6, 2015
Whether or not Bud’s words are actually ruled admissible in court, Martin’s family believes the parrot is the key to a prosecution for the murder.
Charles Duram, Martin’s father, told WOOD TV: “I personally think he was there and he remembers it and he was saying it.”
And Mr Duram’s former wife Christine Keller, who now looks after Bud, told the Telegraph:
I believe with all my heart that those are the last words of Marty.
I recognise two different voices screaming and yelling and it always ends with, ‘Don’t fucking shoot.’
And it wouldn’t be the first time a parrot’s statement has been considered for use in a murder trial. In 1993, a defence lawyer for Gary Joseph Rasp argued that an African Grey may hold the key to who killed its owner.
In that case, the bird said repeatedly,”Richard, no, no, no,” suggesting Rasp was not guilty, but a judge ruled that the evidence could not be used and Rasp was convicted, the Telegraph reports.
Maybe Bud will finally be the turnaround for using parrots as witnesses in courts.