Guilty: Gilliams, Parris convicted in Sebastian trial


INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A jury found former Sebastian City Councilmembers Damien Gilliams and Pamela Rapp Parris guilty of perjury and violation of the Sunshine Law, prosecutors said.

Damien Gilliams

Gilliams on Thursday was convicted on three counts of violation of the Sunshine Law and one count of perjury, Assistant State Attorney Lev Evans said. Parris was convicted on one count of violation of the Sunshine Law and two counts of perjury.

Parris was found not guilty of one count of perjury, Evans said.

The trial stems from an incident in April 2020 where prosecutors said Gilliams, Parris and former Vice-Mayor Charles Mauti held an illegal meeting at Sebastian City Hall and locked the doors to the public. City officials said Gilliams and Parris tried to oust Mayor Ed Dodd, City Manager Paul Carlisle and City Attorney Manny Anon Jr. in an attempt to take over the city.

State law prohibits elected officials from discussing business outside of a public meeting. Even though the defense said 10 people from the public were at the meeting, prosecutors said those people were all Gilliams’ friends and supporters.

The trial for Gilliams and Parris began May 18 at the Indian River County Courthouse and lasted eight days. The six-person jury heard from prosecution witnesses including Dodd, Carlisle, Mauti, City Clerk Jeanette Williams, Manager of Information Systems Barbara Brooke-Reese and Vice-Mayor Jim Hill.

There were no witnesses for the defense.

Pamela Rapp Parris

The jury deliberated for about two hours Thursday before coming to a decision. Circuit Court Judge Michael Linn set Gilliams’ bail at $225,000, while Parris’ bail was set at $25,000.

The maximum penalty for each count of violation of the Sunshine Law is 60 days, Evans said. The maximum penalty for the perjury charges are one year each.

Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 21 in Linn’s courtroom.

Gilliams and Parris, who both maintain their innocence, were charged last year with perjury and violation of the Sunshine Law in connection with the incident. Mauti was issued a non-criminal violation of the Sunshine Law after he agreed to cooperate with the state attorney’s office.

The three former councilmembers were booted out of office in a Sept. 15 recall election. Residents voted in former councilmember and mayor Bob McPartlan, and newcomers Christopher Nunn and Fred Jones to replace the city officials.

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