A Toledo man accused of stabbing his elderly uncle to death and then setting the house on fire to conceal the crime entered pleas to several charges in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Thursday.
Robert Parker, 43, of 1247 Hamilton St., pleaded no contest to one count each of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse. He faces up to 34 years in prison when sentenced Sept. 30 by Judge Linda Jennings.
Initially charged with murder and aggravated arson, Parker is accused of stabbing Donald Lee, 74, multiple times in the head, torso, neck, and chest on Jan. 1, after the two had gotten into an argument. He returned to his uncle's apartment at 328 Belmont Ave. in the Albertus Brown housing complex four days later and poured gasoline on a couch, which he then set on fire to hide his crime, authorities said.
According to Assistant County Prosecutor Andy Lastra, Parker had gone to his uncle's house earlier on the night of Jan. 1 to hang out.
Both men had been drinking when they began arguing. During the argument, Mr. Lee apparently went to his kitchen and returned with a kitchen knife, Mr. Lastra said. During the argument, he stabbed Parker in the hand.
"A fight ensued between the defendant and the victim in which the defendant was able to get the knife," Mr. Lastra said. "Enraged as a result of what happened to him, the defendant proceeded to stab the victim 48 times …"
Parker left Mr. Lee lying on the floor. He returned on Jan. 5 with gasoline and set the home on fire, Mr. Lastra said.
Defense attorney Jane Roman said that Parker had been extremely remorseful for what had happened, acknowledging that the entire family was torn apart by his actions. She said that he had not intended to hurt his uncle when he went there that night.
"Robert and his uncle had socialized on other occasions. It was never Robert's intention to go there and commit any crime much less what he was accused of," she said. "…I think it's a fair and appropriate resolution."
Members of Mr. Lee's family were in the courtroom during the plea. They left without comment.