Local News

Man gets life sentence for scaring woman to death

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.

Posted Updated

GASTONIA, N.C. — 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.

Copyright 2023 by WRAL.com and the Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.