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DA recuses himself from Parsons case

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District Attorney Jennings Jones

The Hamilton County District Attorney's Office will prosecute first-degree murder charges against former Murfreesboro resident Sara Parsons after District Attorney Jennings Jones recused himself from the case, citing a family friendship.

A spokeswoman for District Attorney General Neal Pinkston confirmed the office was asked to take the decade-old case based on the success of its cold case unit in recent years.

Parsons, 31, of Houston, Texas, who grew up in Murfreesboro, is charged with killing her boyfriend, Phon Siharath, in May 2007. She waived extradition and turned herself in Dec. 8, 2016 at the Rutherford County before being released on $150,000 bond.

Though he does not have a relationship with the defendant, Jones said he wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety and filed a request with the Tennessee District Attorneys Conference to have a DA pro tempore appointed to take the case.

"It's a situation where my family and that family have been close friends for a long time," Jones said.

Parsons had been a suspect in the death since Siharath was found shot to death at his Grange Place home on Asbury Road a decade ago, according to Sheriff's Office Maj. Bill Sharp.

Siharath was killed with one shot to the head, according to the sheriff's office, and a 9 mm handgun was found at the scene. The victim's family identified Parsons, who was 22 at the time, as his girlfriend and said she was with him the night before he was found murdered.

Parsons, who is represented by attorney Ben Parsley, has a May 16 hearing scheduled in General Sessions Court.

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