Mixed Martial Artist’s Hands Deemed “Deadly Weapons” in Texas Assault Case

Update – I have obtained a copy of the official Indictment and Judgement and Conviction by Court and these documents do indeed show that State of Texas was satisfied that Jamual Parks hands, given his MMA training, were a deadly weapon.

Parks Indictment Screenshot

Parks Conviction Screenshot


It is reported that authorities Tarrant County, Texas recently charged a man with MMA training with assault with a deadly weapon.  The deadly weapon in question escalating the charge to aggravated assault?  His hands.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Vassar is quoted as follows with respect to designating the hands of a martial artist as ‘deadly weapons’ – “It’s pretty unusual, but in this instance — because he is an MMA fighter — we thought it was appropriate to charge his hands as deadly weapons

The Defendant, Jamual Edward Parks, reportedly plead guilty to the charge and was sentenced to six years in prison.

The guilty plea avoids any judicial scrutiny of whether hands can be considered a ‘weapon’, an argument that stretches the imagination as a weapon, by definition, is likely intended to require something external from the human body.  Texas’ penal code defines deadly weapon as follows –

(A) a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or

(B) anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

Arguably trained hands can meet the broad definition under sub-paragraph B but I suspect a Court would have little difficulty in ruling that hands are not a “thing” which presumably references an external device of some kind.


Update –   A quick shout out to Michael Martin, JD, Content Manager at DTLA’s Strong Sports Gym,  who brought Turner v. State, 664 SW 2d 86 (90) to my attention in which the Texas judiciary had the following to say about whether fists or hands are a deadly weapon under Texas’ penal code –

In Ray v. State, 160 Tex.Crim. R., 266 S.W.2d 124 (1954), a murder case, the court held that hands and feet, which defendant, according to the indictment, used in killing the deceased, were not “deadly weapons” per se and they could become such only in the manner used.

Likewise in the instant case, and under the 1974 Penal Code, we conclude that a fist or hand are not “deadly weapons” per se but can become such only in the manner used depending upon the evidence shown.


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