SAND LAKE, Mich. (WOOD) — Bud is an African grey parrot with a filthy mouth who also may have witnessed his owner’s murder, relatives of the victim say.
“Don’t f—ing shoot,” the bird says on a video that the family says it took several weeks after the shooting.
Martin Duram, 45, was shot and killed in his home on 128th Street in Ensley Township in May 2015 in what police first thought was a double-homicide. Police also found his wife, Glenna, in the home with a gunshot wound to the head. They realized an hour later she was still alive.
Now, Michigan State Police reports obtained by 24 Hour News 8 under the Freedom of Information Act list the wife as a suspect, suggesting she tried to pull off a murder-suicide. She has since recovered from her injury.
Duram’s parents said they’re frustrated that nobody has been charged in the death.
They also say they believe the bird is a witness.
“That bird picks up everything and anything, and it’s got the filthiest mouth around,” Duram’s mom, Lillian Duram, said.
The bird, they said, mimicked both Durham and his wife. The video shows the bird, clinging to the outside of a cage, changing voices, almost as if it were arguing.
“I personally think he was there and he remembers it and he was saying it,” Duram’s father, Charles Duram, said.
Police reports obtained by 24 Hour News 8 show that a witness asked police whether they could use the bird as evidence, but they don’t show that the detective responded.
Newaygo County Prosecutor Robert Springstead said he’s aware the couple had a bird that talked but that he had not seen the video.
The owner of Casa La Parrot in Grand Rapids said it’s not unusual for African grey parrots to mimic male and female voices.
“It’s definitely an argument between a man and a woman,” she said after watching the video.
She said she clearly heard the bird say, “Don’t f—ing shoot.” African grey parrots usually mimic things they’ve heard repeatedly, but she said birds can say words they’ve heard just a few times.
“In my mind, it’s something that he’s heard, definitely heard before. And if it’s fresh in his mind, he might even say it more now,” she said.
State police identified the wife as a suspect in a murder-attempted suicide, suggesting she shot him five times before turning the gun on herself.
Police records detail financial problems, gambling problems and a potentially troubled marriage, ending with the killing of Martin Duram with a gun he kept at his home. Police say Glenna Duram left three suicide notes, one to her ex-husband and one to each of her children:
“i’m sorry but i love you and soo sorry i’ve been a disappointment to you these last 12 yrs or so Please forgive me your one of the best things I ever did — Love mom.”
But in an interview with police after she recovered, she denied killing him, saying she remembered nothing until she was in the hospital.
“I know for a fact I didn’t kill my husband,” police quoted her as saying.
She also said she didn’t remember writing the suicide letters, but a handwriting analysis showed she did, police said.
The victim’s mom wonders why prosecutors haven’t filed charges.
“It’s frustrating. I cry,” she said.
“The worst thing for a husband to do is look over at his wife crying and there’s absolutely no way of comforting this woman because there’s no settlement there at all,” her husband said.
The victim’s father said he is not ready to convict his daughter-in-law.
“I got hope that maybe there’s something out there that we don’t know about that can change this whole situation,” he said.
His wife disagrees.
“The b—- did it,” she said.
The prosecutor said he expects to decide in two or three weeks whether to file charges. He said he’s waiting for Michigan State Police to finish the investigation.
“There’s some evidence to support” the theory that Glenna Duram killed her husband, Springstead said.
“Although the law allows charging on probable cause, I don’t like to do that, especially when you have a very serious case,” he said. “When the investigation is done, I like to be satisfied there’s proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”