Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ruby Parker Sentencing Friday - What Will She Get?

Sentence Depends On Score Sheet And Judge Duryea's Discretion

LABELLE, FL. -- Ruby Yolanda Parker, 36 is scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. hearing Friday for the court to determine her sentence after the 2006 murder and robbery of three Clewiston, Florida residents.

(Photo: Parker testifies at her LaBelle trial last week)

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. 

Harker killed himself by a gunshot to the head after the duo crashed though a police roadblock at the Big Cypress Indian Reservation.

Parker claimed she was held without her consent by Harker and feared for her life if she didn't do what he said.

The state wanted to prove three counts of 2nd degree murder and home invasion, trying to convince the jury Parker was a "principal" with Harker in the crimes.

At the conclusion of a two week trial Parker was found guilty of three counts of culpable negligence and robbery by a 12-member Hendry county jury in LaBelle. She has spent five and one-half year in the Hendry county jail.

The robbery conviction is a 2nd degree felony, as the Assistant State Attorney, Hamid Hunter could not prove Parker was carrying a firearm or weapon, which would be a 1st degree felony. The penalty is up to 15 years in prison for her conviction.

The three culpable negligence convictions are 2nd degree misdemeanors when one "exposes another person to personal injury." The penalty is 60 days in jail or six months probation on each count.

Under Florida sentencing guidelines, a score sheet is prepared, and depending on the number of points the defendant receives, the months of incarceration are determined, and a county jail or state prison sentence may be imposed.

The judge may increase the defendant's sentence up to 15 years in prison for a 2nd degree felony or grant a reduction if he finds mitigating circumstances merit a reduction, a so-called "departure" from the guidelines. The judge would make a written record of the reasons for any sentence reduction.

See Florida's Criminal Punishment Code "Score Sheet" for sentencing guidelines to see how many months of incarceration will be calculated for Parker on Friday.  

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