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Defendant Accused of Scaring Woman to Death

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I thought this was slightly interesting...

In Rare Case, Defendant Accused Of Scaring Woman To Death
Thursday, January 29, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Larry Whitfield was on foot, his getaway car wrecked, his rookie attempt at robbing a bank thwarted by a set of locked doors, according to detectives. Looking for a place to hide, police say, he found himself inside the home of a frightened old woman.

There's no evidence Whitfield ever touched 79-year-old Mary Parnell. Authorities say he even told the grandmother of five he didn't want to hurt her, directing her to sit in a chair in her bedroom. But investigators have no doubt he terrified her so much that she died of a heart attack.

Now Whitfield, a 20-year-old with no prior criminal record, is charged with first-degree murder, a rare defendant accused of literally scaring a person to death.


Weird!!!!! This is just up the interstate from where I live haha
post #2 of 4
Those charges will be down graded. First degree murder indicates premeditated intent to kill.

He randomly picked her. He had no intent to kill her. He had no prior knowledge of her heart condition. At best he could probably get manslaughter.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Some of my friends thought that too, but here's what first degree murder entails:

From the article:

Under a legal concept known as the felony murder rule, it's not uncommon for prosecutors to bring a murder charge against a defendant who doesn't intentionally harm a victim. The rule exists in some form in every state and lets authorities bring murder charges whenever someone dies during a crime such as burglary, rape, or kidnapping.
"If you're committing any of those offenses and a person dies, that's first-degree murder," said Locke Bell, Gaston County's district attorney and the prosecutor in Whitfield's case.
Thus the first degree murder charges.
post #4 of 4
I do hope that he gets a competent defense team, because you are right - in the commission of certain felonies, if a death occurs, whether or not it could be anticipated by a reasonable person, it IS murder....how sad, if only that woman would have locked her door
On the other hand, when he saw an elderly person, he should have left immediately.....I'm so glad I'm not in his shoes...such a waste of a young life, only 20yo & trying to rob banks
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