It was one of those oddities of law which riles people but a Monroe County Judge ordered confessed killer Michael Parrish to undergo a trial by jury. Parrish had arrived in Monroe County Court with his attorney, William Sayer, to enter the plea but began explaining broadly why he had killed his girlfriend and infant son on July 6, 2009. Making excuses for a criminal act of 1st degree murder is tantamount to a plea to lesser charges, so Judge Ronald Vican ordered the jury trial for the man. Under the circumstances, allowing the man to plead guilty at the same time he proffered a rationale could be overturned in an appeals court.
Michael Parrish had been recently hired as a corrections officer at the Monroe County Correctional facility in Snydersville, Pa. when he shot his wife and son to death. The motives he explained in court were what triggered the reversal. Parrish had told authorities he killed girlfriend 21 Victoria Adams and 18 month old son Sydney Parrish when she returned to the apartment they shared in the company of three men. Because Parrish tried to explain away and rationalize his murderous rage, a judge ruled that wasn’t the right way to make a guilty plea.
Parrish suspected Adams had been cheating on him, after she allegedly arrived at their apartment at 11 p.m. without shoes and wearing different clothing than she had been wearing when she left the apartment. The infant son, Sidney Parrish, had been left in the care of Michael Parrish. The child had recently undergone a heart transplant and was prescribed a schedule of regular medication. Parrish told the court that the reason he made repeated calls to Adams while she was away from the apartment was because he needed to know how much medicine he should give to the child.
The Pocono Record story reported that Adams taunted the enraged Parrish when she returned to the apartment. Parrish shot her, and then shot his baby son, before fleeing to New Hampshire in the company of friend, Conrad Jankowski. When the two men stopped to sleep at a convenience story parking lot, the attendant notified police who did a routine check on the license plate. Jankowski was arrested as an accomplice to helping Parrish escape and has pled guilty to charges stemming from that.
Parrish wanted to avoid a trial by pleading guilty in the two murders and reports say he wanted to be executed for his crimes. He was reportedly upset at the turn of events, calling his attorney “incompetent” while being led from the courtroom. Parrish had already made a suicide attempt and told people he wanted to be executed.
The testimony that Parrish was in a “rage” could lead to a conviction on reduced charged, such as murder in the 2nd degree or even manslaughter. Therefore, Judge Ron Vican ordered the case to be set for jury trial.