A DeKalb County couple, who claims to sell fully built log homes, appeared in General Sessions Court Thursday on charges they assaulted a disgruntled customer who confronted them at a local restaurant.
After a hearing, Judge Bratten Cook, II found 47 year old Maureen Espino Park guilty of assault and unlawful possession of a weapon. Judge Cook dismissed an assault charge against her husband, 47 year old Lawton Duane Park. Mrs. Park received a sentence of 30 days on the weapon charge and six months for the assault but she will be on probation. She was also fined a total of $100 plus court costs.
The Parks' were arrested by Smithville Police on Thursday, August 27 after a Michigan man, Danny Hall confronted them at McDonald's Restaurant in Smithville claiming they had defrauded him. Hall claims he and his wife ordered a brand new log home through the Starry Hill Log Homes website in January, a company run by the Parks and paid $36,000 but never got the logs to build the home.
During the confrontation at McDonalds which was captured on video, Hall was allegedly assaulted by the Parks. While finding Mrs. Park guilty of the assault, Judge Cook dismissed the case against Mr. Park after reviewing the video and reportedly determining that he appeared to be trying to break up the fight. Mrs. Park was charged with the gun offense after police found the weapon in her purse during the assault investigation for which she had no permit.
Aside from the assault incident, the Parks could be facing more problems. Officials of the District Attorney General's Office confirm that the Parks are under investigation by the TBI based on customer complaints concerning the Parks' log homes business. In addition to Hall, Kenny Tripp from Smithville, and customers in Chattanooga, as well as Texas and Kentucky, reportedly have said they paid the Parks for homes as well and never got them.
Mr. Park, a pastor, reportedly offers regular Bible studies at the New Heart Outreach located on Broad Street in Smithville.