Man pleads guilty to helping wife flee after furniture plant murder

Eric Parker enters the courtroom for sentencing in helping his wife evade authorities after the deadly 2021 shooting of her coworker at Hickory furniture plant TCS Designs. 

Photo By WSOC-TV

HICKORY, N.C. — A man accused of helping his wife evade authorities after she shot and killed a co-worker pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Eric Parker was charged with accessory after the fact for helping his wife Tangela Parker, who was sentenced in September after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Parker was sentenced to spend 24 to 30 years in prison for the deadly 2021 shooting of her coworker at Hickory furniture plant TCS Designs. She shot and killed Michelle Marlow using a 357 Magnum on Jan. 13, 2021, over a “petty workplace argument,” prosecutors said.

The judge sentenced Parker to 48 to 75 months of prison time.

Parker and victim Michelle Marlow were employed as factory workers at TCS Designs, Inc., a commercial furniture manufacturer in Hickory.  According to police reports and court filings, at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2021, Tangela Parker went to the TCS parking lot, retrieved a gun from her car, returned to the factory, and shot Marlow twice in the head at point-blank range. Marlow died from the gunshot wounds that day.

Eric Parker helped Tangela Parker flee the scene of the crime. After a six-month national manhunt, the couple was apprehended in Phoenix, Arizona,

“He grabbed the murder weapon from her and escorted her out the business,” prosecutor Timothy Gould said. “The defendant determined he was not going to allow Tangela to be apprehended by law enforcement.”

According to courtroom video captured by WSOC-TV, the couple had changed their appearances and names, and were living under the fake names of Jason and Elizabeth Reardon.

Investigators said the couple fled in their Honda CRV, living for 11 weeks in their car and taking odd jobs, including working at a ranch, to survive. They changed the tag on their Honda and found a room on Craigslist and were renting it at the time of their arrest, according to WSOC.


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).