Sunday, August 12, 2012

John Forrest Parker

Executed June 10, 2010 06:41 p.m. by Lethal Injection in Alabama
Summary:
Charles Sennett was a minister in financial trouble and weary of his marriage to his recently insured wife, Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett. He contracted with one of his tenants, Billy Gray Williams, to murder his wife for $3000. Williams, in turn, hired John Parker and Kenneth Eugene Smith for $1000 each to commit the murder. Williams gave Parker $100 to purchase a weapon. Parker drove his vehicle to the Sennetts’ residence while Smith, who was in the passenger seat, sharpened Parker’s survival knife. Parker parked his car behind the Sennetts’ home, told Dorlene that her husband had given them permission to look at the property as a hunting site and, upon receiving Dorlene’s approval, walked into a wooded area with Smith. They later returned to the house and received permission from Dorlene to use her bathroom. While in the bathroom, Parker put cotton socks onto his hands. He then exited the bathroom, jumped Dorlene, and began hitting her. Parker and Smith hit Dorlene with a galvanized pipe and stabbed her while she pled with them not to hurt her. Consistent with their plan, they broke the glass in the medicine cabinet and took a stereo and video cassette recorder (VCR) to make the assault look like it was done during a burglary.
Parker and Smith were both convicted of capital murder. Although the jury returned a verdict of life without parole for Parker, the trial judge sentenced him to death. Smith is still awaiting an execution date to be set. Williams is serving a life sentence without parole for his capital murder conviction. A week after becoming a suspect in the case, the victim’s husband committed suicide.
Final/Special Meal:
Fried fish, french fries and iced tea.
Final Words:
“I’m sorry. I don’t ever expect you to forgive me. I really am sorry.”
Internet Sources:
“State of Alabama executes John Forrest Parker.” (Ap Thursday, June 10, 2010, 7:05 PM)
ATMORE — Alabama corrections authorities say they executed by lethal injection John Forrest Parker at 6:41 p.m. CST Thursday.
Parker, 42, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die for the killing of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, a 45-year-old grandmother who was stabbed repeatedly and beaten with a pipe at her Colbert County home. Prosecutors said Parker was one of two men paid $1,000 each by a third man on behalf of her husband, the Rev. Charles Sennett, who was deeply in debt and wanted to collect on insurance. He committed suicide one week after his wife’s slaying.
Parker appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday after the Alabama Supreme Court voted 7-2 to reject his plea for a stay. Shortly before the scheduled execution time of 6 p.m. Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected in appeal. In the appeal, Parker’s attorneys challenged the constitutionality of an Alabama law that allowed the trial judge to override the jury’s recommendation that Parker be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Alabama Attorney General’s Office filed a response Thursday saying Parker had raised the override argument earlier in his appeal. They said that it was rejected by courts and that the trial judge sufficiently considered the jury’s recommendation before sentencing Parker to death.
Parker was moved earlier this week into a holding cell just a few steps from the death chamber where he is to be strapped to a gurney and receive the lethal injection. He spent most of Thursday meeting with friends and family members, including his mother, Joan Parker, and his father, Edward Parker. Friend Carolyn Watson and two religious advisers from the Kairos prison ministry, Ben Sherrod and Taylor Perry, were to witness the execution.
“Alabama executes contract killer.” (2010-06-11 13:16)
Washington – Convicted murderer John Forrest Parker was executed Thursday in the US state of Alabama for the 1988 contract killing of a pastor’s wife, a prison official said. Parker, 42, died by lethal injection at 18:41 (23:41 GMT) for the killing of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, Alabama prison authority spokesperson Brian Corbett said. “I’m sorry. I don’t ever expect you to forgive me,” Parker told the woman’s family shortly before dying. “I really am sorry.”
Parker was 19 when he and an accomplice accepted a proposal by a pastor to kill his wife, a 45-year-old grandmother, for money. Sennett was stabbed and beaten to death. Her debt-ridden husband had taken out a life insurance policy on behalf of his wife shortly before recruiting Parker and a friend to kill her. The husband committed suicide a few days after the killing.
After his trial, a jury convicted Parker of capital murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. But the judge overruled the jury’s punishment and sentenced him to death, his lawyers said in a statement.
Among the 35 US states that employ the death penalty, Alabama is one of three that allow judges to override the verdict of a jury. This was the second execution of the year in Alabama and the 27th overall in the United States in 2010.
“Parker put to death,” by Tom Smith. (Friday, June 11, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.) “Charles Sennett said death is not easy for anybody, right or wrong. His comments came Thursday just minutes after he witnessed the execution of John Forrest Parker, the man convicted in the 1988 murder-for-hire death of Sennett’s mother, a Colbert County minister’s wife. Sennett and his brother, Michael, were at Holman Prison and watched Parker, 42, die from lethal injection.
Alabama corrections authorities said Parker was executed at 6:41 p.m. He is the first Shoals resident to die by lethal injection since it began in 1927.
Before the execution, Parker told the Sennett family he was sorry for what he did. “I’m sorry; I don’t ever expect you to forgive me. I really am sorry,” Parker said just minutes before the execution process began. Parker, a Florence resident at the time, was convicted of capital murder June 6, 1989.
Attorneys at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery who were representing Parker tried to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution. Corrections officials said the request was rejected a few minutes before the execution was scheduled to begin. Sennett said his family was told Gov. Bob Riley called the prison about 1 p.m. Thursday to inform corrections officials that he would not stop the execution.
Elizabeth Sennett, 45, died March 18, 1988, at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield after she was brutally beaten and stabbed at her home on Coon Dog Cemetery Road in Colbert County. Parker, along with Kenneth Eugene Smith and Bill Gray Williams, both also of Florence, are accused of being paid $1,000 each to kill Elizabeth Sennett. Authorities say Sennett’s husband, who was a minister at Westside Church of Christ in Sheffield at the time, contracted Williams to kill his wife for $3,000. According to court documents, Williams paid Smith and Parker $1,000 each to commit the murder.
Smith and Parker were both convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Smith is still awaiting an execution date to be set. Williams is serving a life sentence without parole for his capital murder conviction. A week after becoming a suspect in the case, the victim’s husband, also named Charles Sennett, shot and killed himself in his son’s backyard.
“This is one of the steps we have to take to get closure and justice,” Sennett said after the execution. “We still have another step with Smith, but tonight was a step in the right direction.” Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May, who was the lead investigator on the murder case, said he has continued to stay in touch with the victim’s sons through the years. “I know they want to start the closure process, and I hope this does it for them,” May said after learning of Parker’s execution.
Sennett said he and his brother still have unanswered questions. “Why this happened,” said Sennett, who was 25 and married with two children when his mother was killed. “Daddy took the answers to his grave and so are these boys (Parker and Smith).” Officials who investigated the murder said the underlying motive was that the husband was trying to get out of his marriage and that he was heavily in debt. “This was a devastating a situation on these two boys,” May said. “To lose your mom in this fashion and then learn that your father orchestrated the entire thing and then he took his own life before he could be punished. “I feel for these two boys and their families, as well as the Parker family.”
Sennett said he and his brother met with Parker’s mother and father Thursday morning in Atmore. “They were remorseful for what their son did,” Sennett said. “We never hated them. They can’t do anything about what their son did. We know they’re hurting. “The Parker family is a victim to a point and our hearts go out to them.”
Testimony at trial indicated Elizabeth Sennett was stabbed multiple times to the right side of her chest, the right side of her back, the base of her neck, forehead, nose and scalp and sustained contusions on her nose and forehead. Records indicate Parker and Smith are accused of hitting the victim with a galvanized pipe and then stabbing her while she pleaded with them not to hurt her.
Sennett said his family wishes to express their sympathy to the Parker family and hope they find a way to deal with their loss. “We know what it is to lose a loved one,” Sennett said. “The only difference today is that John Parker had 22 years to say goodbye. We did not have that chance to say goodbye to our mom. It is a bittersweet day for both sides.”
He said the Parker family will need the support of family and friends, just as his family has had for 22 years. “As for the death of John Parker, the pain he did not feel today does not compare to that he inflicted on our mother 22 years ago,” Sennett said. “We would like to thank all of our family and friends for the prayers and calls that we have received this week and the last 22 years. Without the support of family and friends, we couldn’t make it through. “Now, this part of it is over.”
“Shoals Man Executed Thursday Night,” by Mary Stackhouse. (4:53 PM CDT, June 10, 2010)
A man convicted of murdering a Colbert County woman more than two decades ago was put to death at 6:41p.m. Thursday at Holman Prison in Atmore. John Forrest Parker was the first Shoals man to be executed by lethal injection in the state. Parker was convicted in the 1988 contract killing of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, who was stabbed to death in her home.
Thursday, Parker’s attorneys asked the US Supreme court for a last minute stay to halt the execution. That request was countered by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, who filed papers opposing the stay.
Before he served as the Colbert County Sheriff, Ronnie May was the lead investigator in this case. May says he has spoken to Sennett’s family recently and hopes the execution will bring them some closure.
Just over 22 years ago, authorities found 45 year old Elizabeth Sennett’s in her Cherokee home on Coon Dog Cemetery Road. Officials say Parker was hired, along with two other men, to kill her. The state claimed Sennett’s husband, Charles Sennett, a minister at the West Side Church of Christ in Sheffield was part of the crime. “It was a very cruel and brutal decision made by one man to have his wife killed in a very brutal fashion,” said May. “I guess that’s what I keep thinking about is the impact that it’s had on the sons and the family.”
According to May, Parker beat Sennett with an iron rod and then repeatedly stabbed her to death in her home. Afterwards, authorities say they disposed of the weapon in a pond next to the home. May hopes, after all this time, that Parker’s execution will bring the family some relief. “I know what they’ve had to go through,” said May. “This hopefully will bring some closure for them so they at least feel like some form of justice has been done because of what was done to Mrs. Sennett.”
In March 1988, Charles Sennett contracted with one of his tenants, Billy Gray Williams, to murder his wife, Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, for $3000. Williams, in turn, hired John Parker and Kenneth Eugene Smith for $1000 each to commit the murder. Williams gave Parker $100 to purchase a weapon on 17 March 1988, and promised to pay him the balance when the job was completed. Instead of buying a weapon, Parker used the $100 for drugs and injected 3 cubic centimeters of Talwin, a narcotic analgesic (painkiller), while en route to the Sennetts’ residence on 18 March.
Parker drove his vehicle to the Sennetts’ residence while Smith, who was in the passenger seat, sharpened Parker’s survival knife. Parker parked his car behind the Sennetts’ home, told Dorlene that her husband had given them permission to look at the property as a hunting site and, upon receiving Dorlene’s approval, walked into a wooded area with Smith. They later returned to the house and received permission from Dorlene to use her bathroom. While in the bathroom, Parker put cotton socks onto his hands. He then exited the bathroom, jumped Dorlene, and began hitting her. Parker and Smith hit Dorlene with a galvanized pipe and stabbed her while she pled with them not to hurt her.
Consistent with their plan, they broke the glass in the medicine cabinet and took a stereo and video cassette recorder (VCR) to make the assault look like it was done during a burglary. Parker later burned his clothes and threw the stereo off a bridge, and he and Smith threw away the knife that they used. Parker subsequently received the additional $900 for the murder.
When Sennett arrived home, he found his house ransacked and Dorlene close to death, and called Colbert County Sheriff’s Investigator Ronnie May at 11:44 A.M. May dispatched a rescue squad and sheriff’s deputies to the Sennetts’ home. May and another deputy arrived at the Sennetts’ home about 12:05 P.M., and the rescue squad arrived soon thereafter. Dorlene was transported to the hospital, and seen by Dr. David Parks McKinley. Resuscitation efforts failed and Dorlene was declared dead as a result of cardiac arrest and exsanguination. An examination of her body revealed multiple stab wounds to the right side of her chest, the right side of her neck, the base of her neck, forehead, nose, and scalp, and contusions on her nose and forehead.
Hairs found at the crime scene in a cap located near Dorlene’s body were consistent with Smith’s known hair sample, and on an afghan that had been wrapped around Dorlene’s body were consistent with fibers later taken from Parker’s knife. The VCR taken from the Sennetts’ house was found inside Smith’s residence.
In April 1988, Parker was indicted for the capital murder of Dorlene by beating and stabbing her with a knife for the pecuniary consideration of $1000. At trial, he was found guilty by a jury; the jury recommended a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. The judge, however, overrode the jury and sentenced Parker to death on 21 June 1989. Charles Sennett, a Church of Christ minister, committed suicide on 25 March 1988, seven days after Dorlene died. Williams was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Smith was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death.
UPDATE: John Forrest Parker, executed for the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, told the woman’s family, “I’m sorry, I don’t ever expect you to forgive me. I really am sorry” moments before he died by lethal injection at Holman Prison in Atmore.

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