Durban – “There will always be something missing; she just completed us”. That was Orson Parsons commenting on the murder of his wife, Bianca, 32, after a guilty verdict was handed down in the Durban High Court to the accused, Christopher Houston and Darryl Murrison.
Parsons died after being shot in the back at a garage in Wentworth last February in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
For the judgment and verdict, the court was packed with family and friends of the victim and the two accused men, with court officials having to bring in more seating before the hearing began.
At the end of the judgment, Parsons bowed his head, hands shaking.
He later told the media that the verdict made him feel “both glad and sad at the same time”.
“Nothing will bring Bianca back,” he said, adding that he and his baby daughter faced a lifetime ahead without her.
“We will never be fully happy again, there will always be something missing, she just completed us,” he said.
Also speaking after the verdict, Bianca’s great-aunt, Edie Pillay, said the year between the murder and the judgment had taken its toll on the family.
“It’s been very emotional without a doubt. It might make it a little bit easier when they all hear the verdict,” she said.
The tragic death of Parsons took place on February 24 last year when the couple, with their 3-year-old daughter in the back of the car, stopped at a garage. Orson went into the shop, while Bianca and the toddler waited in the car.
In a bizarre series of events which came out during the trial in police-led evidence, Houston and Murrison had followed a red Chery QQ3 into the garage which was believed to have been the target of the two accused.
It was intended to be a revenge hit on Joseph Errol Ernest and his son Juade, who allegedly killed Houston’s relative, Llewellyn Edwards, the previous year.
The woman driving the red Chery into the garage that fateful evening was believed to be Antoinette Ernest, Joseph’s wife.
But she had also exited her vehicle to go into the shop. The two red vehicles were next to each other.
In chilling video footage, Murrison was seen approaching the red Polo and firing two shots.
Bianca Parsons got out of her vehicle and collapsed, as her daughter remained wide-eyed and silent in the car.
An inconsolable Parsons held his wife in his arms as she passed away.
While Murrison had pleaded guilty to all three charges, Houston had pleaded not guilty. State Prosecutor Kelvin Singh rejected Murrison’s guilty plea, stating the pair had acted in common purpose. When the trial started, concerned Wentworth residents expressed fears for the safety of witnesses during the trial, describing Houston as a feared drug dealer.
Handing down her verdict, Judge Esther Steyn said that when it came to common purpose, there had been a number of factors to consider. These included the video footage which had revealed Houston slowly driving out of the garage and turning right, “travelling a mere distance of 110m at the time”, while Murrison, after shooting Parsons, ran out of the garage following Houston in the same direction.
The judge said this did not tally with Houston’s defence’s version that he left the garage “in a state of panic”.
She also highlighted that both the accused elected not to testify during the trial.
She said the evidence indicated Houston knew Murrison had just committed a murder, assisted him in escaping and removed evidence from the white Polo in which the two had travelled.
Steyn found Murrison guilty on all three counts for which he was charged: murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm without a licence, while she found Houston guilty on count one for murder as accessory after the fact.
Murrison was previously convicted of theft, house breaking and possession of illegal substances, while Houston has no previous convictions.
As the two accused were led out of the dock and back down to the cells, family and friends blew kisses after them.
Sentencing was set down for Monday.
Independent On Saturday