New details in deadly Bristol shooting case

Published: Sep. 26, 2016 at 2:42 PM EDT
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By: Julie Montanaro

September 27, 2016

A judge has set a $100,000 bond for a Bristol man charged with murder.

Floyd Parrish made his first appearance before a judge Tuesday morning.

Parrish's attorney calls the shooting self defense. He also questions whether the arrest is political payback.

We caught up with him on the steps of the courthouse.

"This is so clearly stand your ground, castle doctrine, self defense ... I can't stand it," defense attorney Ryan Andrews said.

61-year-old Floyd Parrish is facing second degree murder charges in the death of James Nesmith.

Arrest papers released Tuesday say when deputies got to the scene,

Parrish said "I did it, I shot him, take me to jail."

Deputies found Nesmith dead inside Parrish's home and a 22 caliber handgun on Parrish's bed, arrest papers say.

Arrest papers say Parrish shot Nesmith twice during an argument. Both Parrish's girlfriend and the man who was with Nesmith told deputies Parrish was seated on the bed at the time and Nesmith was standing near the bed.

"The fact that I'm here in Liberty County on a second degree murder charge for a guy who was in his bed, under the sheets, and defending himself and his wife is outrageous," Andrews said. "Why aren't they investigating the guy who came to my client's house at midnight?"

Parrish's arrest comes three years after a concealed weapons scandal led to the arrest - and eventual acquittal - of Liberty County Sheriff Nick Finch. Finch personally freed Parrish from jail citing his second amendment right to bear arms.

Finch says he was shocked by Parrish's arrest, but says what happened three years ago is completely "independent of what happened (Sunday) Night."

"Recently there was an almost identical case in this town ... people came into his house and he shot someone and he wasn't charged with murder," Ryan Andrews said. "So it makes me wonder what's different about Mr. Parrish? Well, what's different about Mr. Parrish is what happened three years ago."

"So do you contend this arrest was political?"

"Absolutely," Andrews said.

FDLE is taking the lead in this murder investigation. It denies politics are in play.

“FDLE agents focus on the facts," FDLE Spokesperson Gretl Plesinger said. "Our role in this investigation and others is to determine the facts of what happened and provide that information to the local state attorney's office.”

Parrish's attorney says he will be filing a stand your ground motion soon.

To view the redacted probable cause affidavit, click


By: Julie Montanaro

September 27, 2016

A judge Tuesday set a $100,000 bond for Floyd Parrish.

Parrish is accused of shooting and killing James Nesmith at his home on Sunday.

Parrish's attorney calls it a classic case of stand your ground.

By: Julie Montanaro

September 26, 2016

Liberty County Sheriff Nick Finch says he was shocked to learn Floyd Parrish was a suspect in a late night murder.

We reached Sheriff Finch by phone in Brevard County.

"It was a shock to me," Finch said. "I haven't seen Floyd since the dust up a few years ago."

Finch - who is up for re-election in November - says he is awaiting information from FDLE, but does not believe the gun used in the Sunday night shooting is the same gun in question in 2013.

'What happened three years ago, happened three years ago," Finch said. "It's independent of what happened last night. It doesn't change my feeling about what happened three years ago, but it does change my opinion of Mr. Parrish."

By: Julie Montanaro

September 26, 2016

FDLE confirms that the Floyd Eugene Parrish arrested in this case is the same Floyd Eugene Parrish at the center of an investigation in 2013, that ultimately led to Liberty County Sheriff Nick Finch's arrest.

Sheriff Finch personally released Parrish from jail on concealed weapons charges, citing his second amendment rights.

The sheriff was later arrested for it in June 2013 on charges of official misconduct and falsifying records. He was acquitted in October 2013 and reinstated as sheriff.

"He wasn't bothering a soul. He was five miles from home, headed home and he forgot he had a pistol in his pocket. Now does that make somebody a felon? I say no it doesn't," Finch said soon after the not guilty verdict.

We are trying to reach Sheriff Finch for comment on Parrish's murder arrest.

FDLE Press Release

September 26, 2016


FDLE arrests Bristol man for murder

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2016

BRISTOL, Fla. - Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Floyd Eugene Parrish, 61, of Bristol, Fla., for second degree murder with a firearm. FDLE is investigating the case at the request of Liberty County Sheriff Nick Finch.

Parrish is accused of killing James Lester Nesmith, 53, of Bristol, just before midnight on Sept. 25, 2016 at Parrish’s home, 6194 Southwest Forrest Road 180 in Bristol. Nesmith was visiting Parrish when the two began arguing and the shooting occurred.

Parrish was arrested today and booked into the Liberty County Jail.

The State Attorney’s Office, 2nd Judicial Circuit will prosecute this case.

By: Julie Montanaro

September 26, 2016

FDLE is investigating a deadly shooting at a home in Bristol, but is not confirming many details.

FDLE spokesman Phil Kiracofe says they are not yet releasing the address of the crime scene, because the victim's next of kin has not been notified.

Kiracofe says the suspect is being questioned by investigators.

We are awaiting more information from FDLE and the Liberty County Sheriff's Office.