Tim “Doc” Anderson was convicted for a crime he did not commit. He was found guilty of premeditated first degree murder and has been incarcerated since April 1995 in a Florida prison, serving life with no chance for parole. Yes, Tim Anderson did shoot and kill his former promoter, Rick Parker, on that fateful day, but it definitely was not premeditated. If he had been convicted of anything less, he would have already served his time and been a free man.
When Anderson first met Parker he was told he could become a champion with Parker’s help, and he was also told he would be paid $750 per week to be his bodyguard. Anderson began fighting often and thought his purse money was being put into an escrow account by Parker. Things seemed to be fine in the beginning until Parker developed a severe cocaine habit. It soon became apparent that Parker did not have Anderson’s best interests in mind, but rather, was using Anderson to squeeze out more money for himself and his cocaine habit.
Anderson began jotting down notes about his life in boxing and was planning to write a book he called “Liars, Cheats and Whores.” The liars and cheats were the managers and promoters and the whores were the fighters. When Parker heard about Anderson’s literary aspirations he went ballistic and threatened to harm him and kill his sister, Erin. Anderson was very close to his sister who has been a quadriplegic from a diving accident, since the age of 16.
During a media blitz in 1990, Anderson was scheduled to talk at one of the schools in Fort Myers, Florida, about the dangers of drugs. He and Parker arrived in separate vehicles, and when Anderson opened the door to Parker’s limousine, he found him using cocaine. Anderson was livid and demanded the $150,000 that should have been in the escrow account. Parker refused, and their relationship was over from that point on.
Anderson went out on his own while Parker picked up former football superstar Mark Gastineau and former contender Bert Cooper. Parker believed he could get a huge payday with Gastineau in a fight against George Foreman. However, Gastineau was having trouble beating hand-picked opponents; at the same time Parker was being investigated for fixing his fights. Out of the blue, Parker contacted Anderson and promised him the money he owed him, plus interest, plus $500,000, if he would take a dive against Gastineau on the USA Tuesday Night fights, on June 9, 1992. Parker thought that since Anderson had fought George Foreman and had worked for him as a sparring partner, he could make the Gastineau vs. Foreman fight a reality by getting Anderson “knocked out” by Gastineau, and then by having Anderson proclaim that Gastineau “hit harder” than Foreman. However, Anderson refused and gave Gastineau a one-sided beating instead.
Parker next arranged a non-televised rematch in Oklahoma City, where there was no state commission, on December 3, 1992. Once again he asked Anderson to take a dive. Once again, Anderson refused. At the last minute Anderson was told his cornermen would not be working with him (Parker had paid them off). During the fight, when Anderson asked why his water tasted sweet, he was told that sugar had been added to give him extra energy. Anderson began to get light-headed, nauseous, and hallucinatory. He was knocked out in the sixth round. Doctors at a local hospital suspected that Anderson had been poisoned. The effects of that drugging never went away. Anderson was bedridden for much of the next couple of years. He would bump into walls, trip while walking, and black out. He was constantly vomiting.
One day two men approached Anderson and a friend. They showed Anderson a picture of his sister’s house, his sister sitting in front of it, and her two little girls playing beside her. They told Anderson they knew where she lived and she and her family would be killed if he didn’t stop the allegations about his poisoning and Parker’s fight fixing. Shortly afterwards, Anderson was attacked by two men wearing masks. He was badly beaten with baseball bats. To go along with the poisoning, he now had herniated discs in his back and neck. He believed he would be dead within a short time.
In the fall of 1994, a doctor told Anderson that the only hope for recovery was to find out exactly what drugs had been used to poison him. Anderson called me about two days before the shooting, and told me he was going to see Parker at his hotel near Orlando. He said he needed Parker to tell him what he had been poisoned with, and he wanted Parker to give him the money he was owed. He also wanted Parker to admit to the poisoning and apologize for it. He said that he never wanted to see Parker again after that. He said he was going to bring a gun with him. When I asked him why he needed a gun, he said because Parker carried one, and he was afraid to confront him without one. That phone call proved to me that it was not premeditated first degree murder. Anderson was going to try to find out what he was poisoned with so that he wouldn’t die. He wasn’t going there to kill Parker.
The two met on April 28, 1995. Along with a tape recorder, Anderson brought Diane McVay, Parker’s sister, and Chris, Parker’s son, as witnesses. After exchanging pleasantries, Diane and Chris left Anderson and Parker alone to talk business. Anderson, himself, cannot remember the specific events that led to the shooting, but he says that Parker smashed the tape recorder and began yelling and cursing at him, including making threatening comments about Erin. Distraught, either by what he had done, or recognizing that he would never get answers about his poisoning, (Anderson is unclear about this) he attempted to shoot himself several times, but the gun jammed, which was later verified by ballistics tests. A man set upon premeditated murder does not take a tape recorder or witnesses. He had no escape route planned; instead he had the hotel clerk call the police and waited for them to arrive. Rather than being premeditated it shows how the drugs and poisoning had damaged his mind and affected his thinking.
Jim Murphy was a close friend of Tim Anderson’s. They first met in 1981 when they were both playing AAA baseball in the Chicago Cubs organization. Anderson had been a star pitcher in high school and at two colleges. Their friendship continues to this day. Murphy said, “I know of very few people who I have met in my life to be more honest, kinder, or harbor more integrity.” He went on to say that he felt “the court failed to realize how dangerous Rick Parker and his group of felony thugs were, and how serious of a threat Tim believed Parker to be to himself and his loved ones.”
Murphy, who was with Anderson throughout the entire ordeal, had some questions of his own. Why was Dr. Don Chumley, the ringside physician in Oklahoma when Anderson was poisoned, not allowed to testify? Why was Anderson’s mugging and Parker’s threats against him, his sister and her family not introduced in court? Anderson had confided to Murphy that Parker had allegedly killed some people in California over a drug deal, and that after the poisoning and beating he endured, he was convinced Parker would fulfill his threats. This should have been brought out during the trial, but it wasn’t. The public defenders never called a psychiatrist or medical doctor to Anderson’s defense to describe his mental or physical deterioration and suicidal mind set and the effects they might have on his actions, or how the drugs or poisons would have affected him. The public defenders never even called the arresting police officer, who took Anderson’s initial statement. In fact, Anderson told the police he would say anything to get the death penalty. He was suffering so badly that he just wanted to die. The officer’s testimony would have demonstrated that Anderson’s post-arrest statement was unreliable because of his state of mind, which would have negated the prosecution’s case of premeditated murder. Even the jury felt they were deceived by the prosecution and misled to believe the court was planning leniency, even though they didn’t hear all the defense witnesses who were either not asked or not allowed to testify.
To quote from the excellent article written by Robert Mladinich for Boxing Digest, The Story of Tim ‘Doc Anderson, “Even the jury foreman later wrote an angry letter to the judge decrying the sentence. ‘We were all going to write you a letter during the pre-sentence investigation requesting leniency for Mr. Anderson,’ wrote Vincent Runfolo. ‘We now know that we never had that chance.’ Most of the jury members walked out of the courtroom that agonizing night feeling blindsided and misled.”
All of this might have been avoided if Tim Anderson had been willing to accept the $500,000 bribe to throw the fight. However, Anderson’s character and integrity prevented him from doing so. This same character and integrity would preclude him from planning and executing the murder for which he was convicted.
Everyone who was familiar with the circumstances, facts, evidence, and trial is convinced that Tim Anderson received both a tainted defense and an unfair trial. Parker’s sister, though she lost a brother, thinks it’s wrong for Anderson to be in jail and still visits him regularly. He had no previous criminal record. He has served 10 long years in a maximum security prison, under close supervision. It is time for him to be free and return to society. In fact, it is long overdue.
After reviewing all the information, Miami attorney Marcia Silvers decided to take the case pro bono, something she had not done before. However, she felt so strongly that a travesty of justice had taken place during the trial of Tim Anderson that she felt compelled to help and believes he should be set free. If anyone wants to help defray some of the legal costs associated with trying to free Tim Anderson, donations can be sent to the Tim “Doc” Anderson Legal Defense Fund, c/o Marcia Silvers, P.A., 2601 South Bayshore Drive, Suite 601, Miami, Florida 33133. Ms. Silvers’ phone is (305) 854-9666 and fax: (305) 857-0090.