Friday, August 21, 2009

Woman gets 33 years in prison for having kids kill husband

Lake Superior Court (Ind.) Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced a mother who enlisted her two children to kill her husband to 33 years in prison Thursday, August 20. Parker, formerly of Crown Point, IN, and currently of Clawson, MI, had tried to kill her husband many times, including by putting ecstacy in his food.

The plot to murder John M. Parker, a Kirby vacuum salesman, finally came together after she had her 17 year old daughter, Christina Hicks Grabski, buy a pistol for her then 15 year old son, Daniel Hicks, with the son shooting the father to death execution style outside of his Merillville, IN office April 17, 2003.

The victim's father, also named John, stated that he had "to forgive her for what she did. It's the Christian thing to do." He remembered his son as a positive human being who provided for his family. However, his granddaughter Tiffany, 11 at the time of the killing, said that once when the family lived in southwest Michigan, her father came to the dinner table and beat her over a book report. "It wasn't what everybody saw -- the perfect family," she said.

Defense attorneys Richard Kammen and Nick Thiros also presented testimony by Douglas Caruana, a licensed clinical psychologist, who said Parker fit the battered woman profile. In two interviews at the jail, Caruana said Parker told him of being sexually and physically abused as a girl. She married her abusive first husband at age 15. While the couple was divorcing in 1991, she met Parker but had extramarital affairs during their 10-year marriage.By all accounts, John Parker was a successful businessman and at one time ran the fifth best Kirby distributorship in the world, deputy prosecutor John Burke said.

Judy Parker's journey from her impoverished childhood in Texas to a life of jewelry, new cars, luxury vacations and nice homes apparently didn't buy happiness. Her daughter Tiffany testified that a month or two before her father was killed, her mother told her she was saving money so she could divorce John Parker.

In reality, Judy Parker was scheming with her two oldest children, Christina Hicks Grabski and Daniel Hicks, on how to carry out her husband's execution. They later would agree to testify against their mother in exchange for more lenient sentences.

Grabski, then 17, called the couple and had them stop by the office after dinner at the Patio restaurant under the guise of picking up something she needed for homework on that Thursday before Easter 2003. Fifteen-year-old Hicks, wearing dark clothing his mother furnished, was waiting when they pulled up in their Cadillac.

Hicks, 21, of Phoenix, AZ, faces a sentence of between 20 and 25 years when he is sentenced September 14. Grabski, 23, of Gary, faces an eight year sentence for assisting a criminal three days later on September 17. But the harshest sentence will go to Parker, who faces 28 to 35 years in prison for using her kids "in such a way you have jeopardized their liberty, their happiness, their livelihood."

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