Jury Sentences Parker to Death
Posted March 31, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — A Wake County jury sentenced Carlette Parker to death Thursday afternoon; the same jury found Parker guilty Tuesday of the first-degree kidnapping and first-degree murder of 86-year-old Alice Covington.
Parker showed little emotion as the jury read the sentence; however, she did read a statement expressing sympathy, but no guilt.
"For all they've endured, I tell them now, I'm sorry," Parker said. "No one in this room is in the position to judge me. They can sentence me, they can even make an example out of me, but God Almighty is the only one who can stand in judgement of me."
Marge Howell, one of Covington's family members, says "a decision has been made, but no decision can bring Alice Covington back. She was very precious to everyone that knew her."
Prosecutors say they could not be happier with the verdict and sentence, while Parker's lawyers clearly wished for another outcome.
"I have confidence in this system, and I have once again restored confidence in the system we have," says prosecutor Howard Cummings.
Defense attorney Spurgeon Fields said he was disappointed, and wanted "understanding of what that sentence really means."
The jury began deliberations after closing arguments in the sentencing phase wrapped up late Thursday morning.
It was an emotional morning for both sides. There were a lot of tears shed as the jury heard arguments about what Parker's punishment should be.
Prosecutors began by saying Parker's life should not be spared, even if she has a history of mental problems. They say the mental problems came after Covington's murder.
"The evidence is that she very well may suffer from these things because she has this image of holding Alice Covington under the water," Cummings argued.
Prosecutors said Parker never shown remorse for killing Covington. They say the brutal crime was committed for the money.
They also asked the jurors to consider Covington as their own mother or grandmother when they make their decision.
Parker's defense lawyers argued death was too extreme in this case, considering Parker's history of sexual abuse from age five to age thirteen.
Fields said Parker was "raped weekly, repeatedly for several years with no treatment at all."
He also argued that underneath the emotional scars, Parker is a good person who should be punished with life in prison, not death.
"It's a harsh sentence," Fields said in his closing argument. "It means she won't be executed for the next year or two, but she will die in prison."
During the deliberations, the jurors requested a Bible. However, the judge denied the request, and told them to decide the case on state law, not religion.