Friday, February 24, 2012

Hendry Court Gives Parker Close To Max Sentence

Ruby Yolanda Parker - Judge Wasn't Inclined To Give "Mercy"

LABELLE, FL. -- After nearly an hour of legal arguments about how to calculate Florida's Criminal Punishment Score Sheet, Judge John E. Duryea, Jr. handed out a sentence of 13 years in state prison for Ruby Parker this morning.

Ruby Parker and married boyfriend Richard Harker went the home of Joey and Carolyn Whitaker and Myrtle Cox, 80-year old mother of Carolyn at 231 Avenida Del Rio in Clewiston on August 15, 2006. Hours later both Whitakers and Cox were dead, at the hand of Harker.

Parker claimed she was in fear of her life, and only did what Harker told her. Both were on cocaine at the time.

Parker was convicted last Saturday by a 12-member jury of three counts of culpable negligance, a misdemeanor,  in the deaths of the three Clewiston residents, and a 2nd degree felony for robbery. 

(Click on YouTube logo to see full size and in HD)

Before sentencing, the grandson of victim Joey Whitaker told the judge how he feels now that his grandparents are dead, "Holidays are not the same without them." Young Cardenas said to the judge, "I just hope you punish her as long as the law allows."

(see video to hear his statement to the judge as he stands in front of his mother Joy Cardenas)

Victim Joey Whitaker's elder brother Wayne said, "They presented this case where a 10-year old child could understand." But he added, "The system has failed us. I just feel like the jury failed. Clearly they have made a huge mistake in this case."

Speaking of drugs and it's effects he said, "Drugs has touched everybody in this room today...When drugs is involved we just give them a pass...I don't know what to do...the jury system, it failed me."

The jury Saturday, declined to find Parker guilty of murder, but instead found her guilty of robbery and three counts of culpable negligence.

Ruby Parker, now a felon, dressed in a Hendry County Jail orange jumpsuit spoke to the judge saying she just wanted to "go back to my life and forget about all this." She said, "I just want to go back home to my daughter...finish school...I am truly sorry for what happened..."

(on the video you can hear her chain shackles as she returns to her seat)

Jail Chaplain Lester Grant said, "I met someone who seemed to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders." Grant told the judge, she "is a changed individual." "She's truly remorseful," he said. "I told her she has a very serious call from the Lord," Grant said. Grant said Parker led bible studies in the jail.

Jail Chaplain Kathy Manta told Judge Duryea "Yolanda is one of the good ones." She explained, "I believe that through her, many souls will be saved."

Judge Duryea pointed out although Parker had not been in any trouble before the Clewiston triple murders in August 2006, and though she didn't even "have a parking ticket," he was not inclined to show mercy in sentencing.

Under state sentencing guidelines, the judge could have given Parker anywhere from 47 months, the minimum, to 15 years, the maximum permitted for 2nd degree robbery.

Judge Duryea gave Parker credit for time served for the misdemeanors.  She will be allowed five and one-half years spent at the Hendry county jail as credit off her 13 year prison sentence.

(Court Video Above: Family members of victims tell Judge of impact, Parker, jail chaplain plead mercy to court)

Additional Sentencing Video: Assistant State Attorney Hamid Hunter argues Parker's sentence, Judge Duryea announces sentence, close of hearing

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:55 PM

    Please tell me that she didn't say this in open court! She wants to "go back to her life and forget about all of this...go back home to her daughter...finish school..I'm really sorry." She will be able to see her famiily on visiting day and probably sooner than later, go back to her life and daughter. Sadly that's not the case for the Whitaker/Cox family. They would also like to forget that day but their lives were forever changed when she stood by and did nothing. Praying for peace and comfort for the families.