Local News

Man gets life sentence for scaring woman to death

Posted November 11, 2010

— A bank robbery suspect accused of scaring a Gaston County woman to death after hiding in her home has been sentenced to life in prison.

Multiple media outlets reported that Larry Whitfield, 22, of Charlotte, was sentenced in federal court Wednesday. Whitfield had been convicted of attempted bank robbery, various weapons charges and trying to avoid arrest for attempted bank robbery.

Court records show that a jury found that Whitfield did not intentionally kill Mary Parnell, 79, but his conduct resulted in her death.

Prosecutors said that Whitfield and a co-defendant tried to rob a credit union in Gastonia in September 2009. They said that Whitfield forced his way into Parnell's home to hide from police.

Police said Whitfield made Parnell sit in a chair and soon left the house. An autopsy showed she died from a heart attack that police say was the result of Whitfield's presence.


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  • wildcat Nov 11, 2010

    22 years old...he got exactly what he deserved. May he enjoy his life of prison. Thanks to the judge and jury for making the right decision. My condolences to the family in the loss of their love one.

  • Desiderata Nov 11, 2010

    Airborne daddy and Brittandy...are you two with your head up the wrong end of your body? You can not really believe what you wrote! My grandmother lived to 92..by herself,,, no electricity(gas lights as she was epileptic and worried the flickering light would bring on a seizure)..and walked to local grocery store in Ohio...this woman had so much life to live and it was taken away,,,,SHAME ON BOTH OF YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS..!

  • Adelinthe Nov 11, 2010


    Good call.

    Not sure why then, when some kill others, they only get 10 or 20 years, like the beast that killed the troopere. Have never understood that.

    God bless.


  • Iconoclast Nov 11, 2010

    "the citizen's of NC are paying the price for a broken judicial system filled with incompetent judges"

    Judges are forced to give sentences based on sentencing guidelines passed by the general assembly. They may want to give longer sentences but, in many cases, are not allowed to.

  • gnewsome1 Nov 11, 2010

    The Judges and prosecutors who allow these people to get little or nothing for their heinous crimes are not imcompetent, they are just worms with not backbone.

  • chivegas Nov 11, 2010

    Why wasn't he tried under the felony murder law? This is a textbook example...

    For those that don't know, if someone dies during the commission of a felony, the perp can be tried for murder, even if they didn't intend to kill or hurt anyone.

  • anne53ozzy Nov 11, 2010

    Life expectancy for a woman is not 79 yrs today. She had many more years to live, according to govermnment data (Census). In addtion, we have no witnesses aside from the perpetrator as to what he said or did to her to cause her to have a heart attack. I cannot believe anyone would object to this sentence and statistics bear out that if not this unfortunate woman, there would be more if he were allowed back on the streets.

  • rcrdngcountry Nov 11, 2010

    100% what he needed. stop playing games with these sorry want
    something for nothing crooks. comite a crime, do the time.

  • slappyh99 Nov 11, 2010

    busyb97, that is the difference between federal court and state court. This case was in federal court probably due to it beginning as a bank robbery. The case you mentioned was in state court. The judicial system in NC is a joke. The guys that set his wife on fire should be in prison for a LONG LONG time. We the citizen's of NC are paying the price for a broken judicial system filled with incompetent judges and prosecutors and lax laws.

  • slappyh99 Nov 11, 2010

    According to the story he was sentenced in federal court. Unlike the state system, a life sentence in federal court means life. There is no parole, you leave prison in a box. Unless he qualifies for a Rule 35, which is a sentence reduction based on substantional cooperation with the feds in other criminal matters. Not everyone gets a Rule 35.