Na'Tasha Nunn knew the man who brutally stabbed her great uncle to death by more than just his name, Robert Parker. Instead, she and her family knew him as "Bammy," her second cousin.
But although the victim's family that crowded into the back of a Lucas County Common Pleas courtroom yesterday was also the family of the defendant, Ms. Nunn asked that Parker not be sentenced lightly for his crimes.
Parker was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday for the stabbing death of Donald Lee, 74, and his subsequent attempt to hide his crime by setting fire to the elderly man's apartment.
"We all can agree that Robert Parker needs to pay for what he did. He needs time to think and think until he can't think anymore about how he has separated and disrupted the family, but most importantly, for what he has done to Donald Lee," a tearful Ms. Nunn told Judge Linda Jennings.
"He needs to think about the 48 times he stabbed Uncle Donald, a 74-year-old, defenseless man. He did this to his own flesh and blood."
Parker, 43, of 1247 Hamilton St., was sentenced to nine years in prison for one count each of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated burglary and seven years for aggravated arson. He was sentenced to four years in prison for tampering with evidence and 11 months for abuse of a corpse, time that was ordered to be served concurrent to the initial 25 years.
Authorities said Parker initially went to his uncle's apartment at 328 Belmont Ave. in the Albertus Brown housing complex to socialize with his uncle on New Year's. At some point, a fight broke out between the two. Assistant County Prosecutor Andy Lastra said Mr. Lee then went to the kitchen to get a kitchen knife and Parker was stabbed in the hand. "And then he just lost it," Mr. Lastra said.
Parker then stabbed his elderly uncle 48 times in the head, neck, torso, and back, and left the dying man on the floor. He returned Jan. 5 with a cup of gasoline and set fire to a couch in the home.
Parker tearfully apologized to his family, saying he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and said he hoped they one day would forgive him.
"God knows that I didn't mean to kill my uncle. I know that I have a drug and alcohol problem," he said. "If I wasn't drinking, this would never have happened."
Calling the incident "horrific," Mr. Lastra said it remains unclear what prompted Parker's rage.
Attorney Jane Roman said Parker has shown true remorse for his actions. She said her client decided to enter a plea so as to save the family from having to go through a trial and to save himself from a possible life sentence.
Originally charged with murder, Parker pleaded no contest to the lower charge Sept. 10.
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