State News

Man serving life sentence charged in 1984 slaying of 13-year-old in Wilson

Posted October 24, 2019 12:56 p.m. EDT
Updated October 25, 2019 6:47 p.m. EDT

— A Wilson man serving a life sentence for murder now faces charges in the stabbing death of a 13-year-old girl who was killed 35 years ago.

Gregory K. Parks, 60, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the 1984 death of Marsha Anita Whitted.

Wednesday marked the 35th anniversary of investigators finding Whitted's naked body in some woods near where Evansdale Road crosses Contentnea Creek, southeast of Wilson. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed 62 times.

The teen was visiting her grandmother in Wilson and was last seen on Oct. 22, 1984, talking to people in a passing vehicle at the intersection of Nash and East streets, authorities said.

Investigators said advances in DNA testing led to the charges. The Wilson County Sheriff's Office submitted evidence from the case to the State Crime Lab in 2012 and again this spring, and analysts were able to link Parks to the crime.

Sheriff Calvin Woodard said Parks denied the charges when he was interviewed in prison on Monday.

Parks is serving a life sentence in Tabor Correctional Institution in Columbus County for the 2015 kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Isabel Palacios.

Palacios' body has never been found, but she was last seen at Parks' home in Wilson in July 2015. Investigators later found blood and Palacios' DNA inside the home.

Parks was convicted of manslaughter and attempted rape in 1991 and also was found guilty of attempted rape in 1985, according to state Department of Public Safety records. He also had a string of fraud, larceny and forgery convictions from the 1990s and 2000s.

In 2013, he was convicted of two counts of participating in prostitution of a minor, but the conviction was overturned by the state Court of Appeals a year later.

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