- The Washington Times - Friday, July 29, 2005

A neighbor who confessed to killing the mayor’s liaison to the homosexual community was sentenced yesterday to 24 years behind bars — the maximum under voluntary guidelines.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Retchin could have departed from guidelines and given William Parrott Jr. life in prison. He has no prior criminal record and must serve at least 20 years before being eligible for release.

Parrott, 38, said a “binge of smoking crack cocaine, marijuana and alcohol” led him to stab Wanda Alston, 45, multiple times in her home March 16.

He tried to get residential drug treatment in the weeks before the crime but was turned down, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cummings said.

“Perhaps if he’d got that, this might not have happened,” Judge Retchin said, adding that she hopes the case draws attention to the need for more available drug treatment.

Miss Alston’s friends and family — including her 83-year-old mother, maneuvering with a walker — packed the courtroom. Tissues were passed up and down aisles.

Veronica Wilson remembered her friend as a “kind, loving, generous, sweet human being.”

“She just had to take his stab wounds one at a time, until she died,” said Miss Alston’s sister, Aurelia Lewis. “The pain will never go away.”.

Shackled and in an orange jumpsuit, Parrott faced Miss Alston’s loved ones and apologized.

“Wanda Alston was not only a neighbor, she was a friend — someone I talked to,” Parrott said.

Her family thinks that’s why she opened the door to him.

The judge said drugs are no excuse for crime.

“What you did was just horrific — you armed yourself and it was a brutal assault,” Judge Retchin said to Parrott, citing how he washed the knife he used to stab Miss Alston and discarded bloody clothing, then stole her car and credit cards.

But the judge said Parrott accepted responsibility by pleading guilty in April to second-degree murder.

“I know you are tortured by the death you inflicted,” Judge Retchin said.

She recommended he get intensive drug treatment in prison, and sentenced him to five years’ probation after his release.

Parrott must pay $100 for a victim assessment fee, and $16,000 in back child support, which his attorney intends to file a motion to suspend.

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