Suspect with violent criminal history, open rape case arrested in St. George

Composite image with background photo of police lights in Hurricane by Cody Blowers and overlay stock image by Welcomia/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — On Thursday, charges were filed against a man accused of possession of a dangerous weapon and drug distribution following a traffic stop where officers also found a warrant out of Salt Lake City for a 2018 rape.

2020 file photo of a St. George Police vehicle in St. George, Utah, on Oct. 23, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed formal charges against 57-year-old Demetrius Parker of Salt Lake City that include two second-degree felonies – possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person. He also faces a third-degree felony for the weapons charge.

Parker was also charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, DUI and driving on a suspended license, each a misdemeanor, as well as a traffic infraction.

The charges stem from a traffic stop on Tuesday when an officer observed a red Saturn sports utility vehicle fail to stop as it exited a parking lot on N. 800 East and the officer stopped the SUV on St. George Boulevard shortly before 10:30 p.m., which is when the officer discovered that Parker was driving on a denied license.

While speaking with Parker, the officer noted the driver’s eyes appeared red and glossy and there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. A field sobriety test was conducted – one in which the police said the suspect failed.

Parker was placed under arrest and while taking inventory of the items in the SUV prior to it being impounded, officers recovered a .380 caliber Ruger pistol from the center console, along with a large folding knife that was found on the suspect during the arrest.

A check of the gun revealed it was reported stolen out of Salt Lake City, the report states.

A review of the suspect’s criminal history revealed multiple cases and convictions dating back to 1986, including an aggravated assault conviction on a 2000 case out of Salt Lake City involving a knife, which resulted in Parker being listed as a category 1 restricted person who was stopped with “two dangerous weapons,” according to the report.

During an interview, Parker said he purchased the Ruger pistol at a yard sale for $100-$150 more than a year ago.

He was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing the DUI and weapons charges, as well as the traffic infractions listed in the report.

The distribution and possession charges were filed by Washington County Prosecutor Zachary Weiland the following day, after a small pouch was recovered during a search of the suspect and collected as evidence following the arrest.

During an inventory of the pouch, officers recovered nearly eight grams of methamphetamine, more than two grams of heroin and crack cocaine. Officers also found nearly 28 muscle relaxants and other prescription pills that were not prescribed to the suspect by a physician.

The suspect is scheduled to make an initial appearance on the charges in 5th District Court on Monday.

Stock image | Photo by Matt Gush/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Parker was out on bail on an open rape case filed in 2018 when he was picked up on the current charges. That case is still moving through 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City. After a string of continuances, the case is scheduled for a jury trial in November.

In that case, Parker was charged with first-degree felony rape following an investigation into a report that a woman was sexually assaulted in February 2017.

The woman was with a friend at a bar in Salt Lake City when a man met up with the pair and said he was a friend of the woman’s parents. All three remained together at the bar and when an Uber ride fell through, both women got into the suspect’s vehicle for a ride home.

The friend was dropped off first, the report states, and the woman was driven to the suspect’s house. Shortly after, she woke up as she was being sexually assaulted and attempted to push the suspect away but was unable to. She also told authorities she was confused and got upset during the incident, as she didn’t know where she was or how she got there.

Once the assault was reportedly over, the woman ran from the residence shortly after 3 a.m. and was spotted by a passerby who drove the young woman home. Following the report to police, the report states, the reporting party picked the suspect out of a lineup.

During an interview, Parker denied the allegations against him and told authorities in Salt Lake it was consensual. He was later charged with first-degree rape and was out on bail pending trial when he was stopped by police in St. George.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained. 

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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