RALEIGH, N.C. — Larry Whitfield was on foot, his getaway car wrecked, his rookie attempt at robbing a bank thwarted by a set of locked doors. Looking for a place to hide, police say, he found himself inside the home of a frightened old woman.Quote has been trimmed
There’s no evidence Whitfield ever touched 79-year-old Mary Parnell. Authorities say he even told the grandmother of five he didn’t want to hurt her, directing her to sit in a chair in her bedroom. But investigators have no doubt he terrified her so much that she died of a heart attack.
Now Whitfield, a 20-year-old with no prior criminal record, is charged with first-degree murder in a case in which he is accused of literally scaring a person to death.
"He could’ve avoided all this by turning himself in, and life would’ve went on for Mrs. Parnell," said Capt. Calvin Shaw of the Gaston County Police Department, which handled the investigation into her death last fall.
Under a legal concept known as the felony murder rule, it’s not uncommon for prosecutors to bring a murder charge against a defendant who doesn’t intentionally harm a victim. The rule exists in some form in every state and lets authorities bring murder charges whenever someone dies during a crime such as burglary, rape, or kidnapping.
"He could’ve avoided all this by turning himself in, and life would’ve went on for Mrs. Parnell,"
^ For how long? a week? jeez..... I admit the guy should be charged for the crimes he has done, but with no previous records and actually trying to calm the lady down in such a situation, telling her he doesn't want to hurt her and go into her bedroom where she would be safe.... to me, that doesn't sound like 1st degree murder and is pretty harsh.