Prosecution introduces Melvin Parker
Paul Peronard appears to be safe from the witness stand and defense- for now- as the U.S. finished its redirect of Peronard early Tuesday afternoon and introduced Melvin Parker, a key witness who bought W.R. Grace land just down the road from Zonolite Mountain.
In 1992, Mel Parker purchased land that W.R. Grace had used as a screening plant for the Libby mine. Parker and his wife ran a tree nursery business that used vermiculite as a soil additive. After Alan Stringer showed the couple the property, the Parkers entered into a buy-sell agreement to purchase the property for $146,000. The Parkers moved into the guard shack in October, 1993, with plans to build a house on the land.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better site for what type of business I would do on the property,” Parker said.
Parker said the only concern he had about the property was a 10,000 gallon fuel tank that pumped beneath the ground. Parker has had problems with fuel tanks in the past, and after he was assured of the safety of the fuel tank, Stringer never mentioned any other hazardous materials in the area.
The prosecution entered into evidence the property’s deed, which included several stipulations about the property including the inclusion of the guard shack and shed already on the land. None of the stipulations included advice not to stir up the the vermiculite on the property.
Parker also said that he thought the piles of vermiculite were going to be removed by Grace. They never were, he said.
Just before the afternoon recess, the prosecution attempted to enter a photograph into evidence that showed Melvin and his wife’s granddaughter sitting on what appeared to be their porch. A large truck is seen in the middle of the photo hauling some form of white-grey substance. The defense objected on grounds of relevance, and Molloy sustained the objection.
-Kelsey Bernius (posted 3:35 p.m.)
Posted: March 3rd, 2009 under News.