Defense Claims Parker 'Not A Saint, But Not A Murderer'
Posted March 28, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Closing arguments are underway in the murder trial of Carlette Parker, who is accused of swindling 86-year-old Alice Covington out of money, then killing her.
Once the prosecution rested its case Monday morning, defense attorneys asked to have the kidnapping and murder charges dismissed. The judge denied the request.
The defense claims that prosecutors spent most of their time trying to prove that Parker was a thief, but that they did not prove that she killed Covington.
Prosecutors contend that Parker's actions speak for themselves. They say Parker drove around with Covington's body in the trunk of a car for a couple of days before ditching the body and the car in a wooded area in Morrisville.
A central point to the case is Covington's cause of death, which was listed as drowning. With that in mind, defense attorneys maintained that their client is not a saint, but that she is not a murderer either.
With the help of former state medical examiner Page Hudson, the defense floated a theory that Covington was at risk for heart disease and may have died of heart failure.
Parker claims that when she took Covington to her house, Covington fell off a toilet into a tub full of water.
Prosecutors didn't buy it. They maintain Parker lied to cover up her financial misdeeds. They also say her attorney's claim that Covington died from anything other than murder at Parker's hands is a smoke screen.
The state medical examiner testified last week that there was no natural cause of death and there was no trauma to the body. However, he said there was fluid in Covington's lungs, which is indicative of drowning.
Still, the defense says the prosecution has failed to prove its case against Carlette Parker.