Man once convicted of Horry County murder could be set free

Judge Steven John granted a new trial for Richard Gagnon.

Gagnon was serving two life sentences for the murders of Charles and Diane Parker, who were found dead in their Horry County home in 2005.

Gagnon was dating the Parker's daughter, Bambi Bennett, at the time.

In a ruling Monday, Judge John said new evidence presented at recent hearings was the reason he granted the new trial.

Bruce Hill was also convicted of the murders. Gagnon said all along he did not know Hill.

During Gagnon's trial in 2008, testimony showed there was blood at the crime scene that did not match Gagnon's or the victims. After Gagnon's conviction, the blood was found to be a perfect match to the DNA of Bruce Hill.

Bennett said at a pre-trial hearing, she did not testify in the trial, that Gagnon told her he stepped in blood when he went back into the house when police left the crime scene. She also said she didn't know Hill, according to Monday's court order.

Also, Robert Mullins, who was incarcerated with Gagnon, said at first he believed Gagnon didn't commit the murders, but later changed his mind. He testified at Gagnon's trial.

Another man, who was also in Evans Correctional Institution with Gagnon and Mullins, Robert Troy Taylor, said in the recent hearings that Mullins repeatedly told him that he lied in Gagnon's trial.

Because that attacks the credibility of a major piece of evidence, the judge granted the new trial.

Gagnon will be sent back to J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Horry County for a bond hearing. That date has not been set.

If he makes bond, he will be released.

"At this point, it's as though the first trial did not take place," Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said.