A tragic incident in Billings, Montana, resulted in the loss of 17-year-old Khoen Parker’s life. Born and raised in the city, Khoen was known for his optimistic and energetic personality. Described as a rascal by his loved ones, he possessed remarkable skills, including the ability to land a backflip as a child. Khoen’s grandmother, DeMaris “Dee” Burt, fondly remembered him as adventurous, kind, and loving.
The unfortunate event occurred in January 2022 during an argument over clothes in the Heights area. The dispute escalated into a fight, during which several shots were fired. Tragically, one of the bullets struck Khoen, leading to his untimely death. Although several individuals were present at the scene, including juveniles, only Khoen’s step-brother stayed with him at the hospital.
In court on Wednesday, the teenage boy responsible for firing the fatal shot, identified only as A.G., was sentenced to incarceration for negligent homicide. A.G., who is now 17 years old, will remain at Montana’s only long-term correctional facility for juveniles until he turns 18. Following his release, he will be placed on probation, with a potential 20-year prison sentence if he violates its terms.
The hearing marked the conclusion of one of five criminal cases related to Khoen Parker’s death, which presented a challenging investigation for the Billings Police Department. Detectives faced significant obstacles due to a campaign of deceit orchestrated by the suspects. Consequently, charges were filed nearly eight months after Khoen’s tragic demise.
Yellowstone County District Judge Rod Souza, presiding over the hearing, expressed the devastating impact of the crime on Khoen’s family. He emphasized the loss of a promising future and the opportunities that were abruptly taken away. Khoen’s mother, Jennifer Parker, shared her profound grief, highlighting the milestones her son would never experience.
The incident involved two groups of teenagers who met in the early hours of January 16, 2022, after exchanging threats for several hours. One group, consisting of five teens, waited at a residence on Constitution Avenue, while the second group, including Khoen, his step-brother, and the shooter, arrived at the nearby Castle Rock Park in separate vehicles. The confrontation escalated, with some individuals carrying BB guns and the shooter possessing a stolen handgun.
During the fight, a third group arrived at the scene in an SUV, with several adults attempting to intervene. One of the adults discharged two rounds into the air. The shooter claimed he fired in an attempt to break up the melee, responding with seven rounds from his handgun. Unfortunately, one of the bullets ricocheted off the asphalt, striking Khoen in the chest.
Following the gunfire, everyone fled the parking lot, while Khoen, accompanied by A.G. and others involved, was driven to Billings Clinic. Tragically, Khoen was pronounced dead that same morning. The investigation revealed that many witnesses had initially lied or concealed information, making it challenging for the police to uncover the truth.
To date, three juveniles and two adults have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident, including counts of negligent homicide and obstruction of justice. One case involving Juel Rebecca Graham, accused of assisting one of the juveniles in concealing her phone from the police, remains unresolved.
During the court proceedings, Senior Deputy County Attorney Hallie Bishop raised concerns about the rise in gun violence among young adults in Billings. Detective Michael Robinson, who testified, confirmed that it is indeed a significant problem. In 2022, ten homicide victims in Billings were 30 years old or younger, with half of this year’s six homicide victims falling within the same age range.