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Charles Montaldo

Woman 'Scared to Death' in Home Invasion

By January 30, 2009

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A 20-year-old North Carolina man has been charged with felony murder in connection with the death of a 79-year-old woman who police said was literally scared to death when he broke into her home. Authorities said Larry Whitfield was fleeing from a botched bank robbery when he broke into the house of Mary Parnell.

Investigators claim she was so terrified that she died of a heart attack.

In September 2008, Whitfield and an accomplice planned to rob a credit union in Gastonia, North Carolina, using semiautomatic rifles. Their plans were thwarted when employees saw them coming and locked the bank's security doors.

Not able to get inside the bank, the two fled the scene, but soon crashed their vehicle on Interstate-85. The other robber was captured by police at the crash scene, but Whitfield was able to get away and made it to Parnell's home.

Death Was Unintentional

Police say that Whitfield never touched Mary Parnell. In fact, he told her that he wasn't going to hurt her and told her to sit down in a chair in her bedroom. But the grandmother of five died of a heart attack.

When Parnell died and slumped over in the chair, Whitfield fled again and broke into a neighbor's home. He was later arrested walking in the same neighborhood.

Whitfield is being charged under North Carolina's felony murder rule, which allows prosecutors to bring murder charges even if the defendant does not intentionally harm someone.

In is usually used to bring charges against an accomplice. For example, if a bank robber kills someone during a hold up, the getaway driver can be charged with the murder also. In North Carolina, the felony murder rule applies if someone dies during the commission of a burglary, rape or kidnapping.

"If you're committing any of those offenses and a person dies, that's first-degree murder," said prosecutor Locke Bell.

See Also:
Police: Robber Scared Grandmother to Death

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Photo: Mug Shot


January 30, 2009 at 10:05 am
(1) Victor Swindell says:

Unfortunately as a sign of the times..despite the stats it seems that crimes are going up, espically against the elderly.

I would advise everyone reading this to take the steps necessary to protect their home and persons agaist the rising criminal and desparate elements.

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August 30, 2012 at 11:17 am
(2) Kitaboidild says:
August 31, 2012 at 2:43 am
(3) PeegreecetGak says:

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