Police chief ‘in disbelief’ after bond lowered for couple tied to deadly workplace shooting

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — A man who was on the run with his wife, who is accused of shooting and killing her co-worker at a Hickory furniture plant in January, had his bond reduced by nearly a half million dollars on Thursday.

Tangela Parker, 50, and her husband, 62-year-old Eric Parker, had been on the run since Jan. 13 after the fatal shooting of Phelifia “Michelle” Marlow at Tangela’s workplace, TCS Designs in Hickory.

The judge originally set bond in August at $600,000 for Eric Parker. On Thursday, it was reduced to $125,000.

The day before, Tangela Parker was granted a $250,000 bond.

Eric Parker’s attorney told the judge his client was just trying to get his wife to safety and home after the deadly shooting. But police said it was Tangela Parker who shot and killed Marlow at the furniture company where the two worked.

Justin Marlow, Michelle’s husband, told Channel 9 he can’t understand why the bonds were lowered.

“Now, they get to see their family. I don’t get to see my wife no more unless I go to the graveyard,” he said on Thursday.

The Hickory police chief sent Channel 9 the following statement regarding the Parker’s bonds being reduced:

“I am extremely disappointed and in some regard in disbelief in the decision by the Judge on the bond in these cases. Aside from the obvious seriousness of the crime, both of these individuals fled and evaded apprehension for 6 months. If there were ever a case that demonstrates flight risk, this is it.”

After being arrested in Arizona in July after a nationwide search, the couple initially appeared in front of a judge on Aug. 9. Channel 9′s Dave Faherty was at that court appearance last month, and said family members of both Marlow and Tangela Parker were in the courtroom.

The Parkers were sitting just three rows away from Marlow’s family. The family described what it was like seeing Tangela Parker for the first time since her arrest.

“My blood run cold. You got to understand what my family has been through. The last six, seven months, there’s no end to this ... ever,” said Justin Marlow.

“It’s just sad. It’s a waste of two, three lives and family lives,” said Teressia Bowman, Marlow’s stepmom.

Authorities said Tangela Parker shot her co-worker at the furniture plant a few days after a workplace dispute. She then fled the state with her husband, who also worked at the plant.

The Parkers spent months on the run before U.S. Marshals caught up with them on July 13 at a home in Phoenix, Arizona. Authorities said the couple had changed their appearance and were living under the fake names of Jason and Elizabeth Reardon.

After being transferred to the Hickory Police Department on Aug. 5, Tangela Parker was charged with one count of murder and Eric Parker was charged with one count of accessory after the fact.

Tangela Parker’s parents told Faherty that they wanted to show their support for their daughter. They believe the couple made a mistake leading to their arrest in Arizona.

In court last month, Tangela Parker’s attorney told the judge that she was indigent and couldn’t afford an attorney. The judge gave her a court-appointed attorney then, but would not give her a bond to get out of jail.

On Wednesday, Tangela Parker’s bond was set at $250,000. If the Parkers are released from jail, they would both be under house arrest with ankle monitors.

Makayla Marlow, Michelle’s daughter, believes the couple is a flight risk and jail is where they should stay.

“They know what their punishment is going to be. He knows what he’s looking at. She knows possible life, and you know now is just a good a time to skedaddle as any,” she said.

The district attorney said that he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether or not this will be a capital case.

“She took my little girl. She shouldn’t be able to walk free anymore,” Bowman said.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

(WATCH: Fugitive couple wanted in Hickory furniture plant killing nabbed in Arizona)