- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A judge has tossed out the conviction of an inmate with terminal cancer who has been in prison the last two decades in the killing of his wife who was beaten death in their bedroom.

The decision ordering a new trial for 78-year-old James Parsons determined prosecutors withheld evidence that would have helped his case at trial.

Parsons, who has leukemia, congestive heart disease and dementia, could be released as early as Monday and moved to a nursing home near Norwalk in northern Ohio near where he and his wife had lived.

“I just want to hug him and say it’s finally over. I want to see a smile on his face,” said Sherry Parsons, the youngest of his two daughters. “My hope is he understands.”

Huron County Prosecutor Daivia Kasper, who was not involved with the original case, said Friday she will appeal the ruling.

“I think the judge’s decision was wrong factually and legally,” she said.

Parsons’ wife, Barbara, was killed in 1981 after being struck 15 times in the head with a heavy object.

Authorities investigated Parsons right away, but there was nothing connecting him to the killing initially. He said he was at his auto shop at the time his wife was attacked.

Parsons, who built and raced cars, wasn’t arrested until 1993 after a new detective took over the case.

Prosecutors used blood stain analysis to get the conviction, said Donald Caster, an attorney with the Ohio Innocence Project.

But he said the forensic scientist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation who conducted the analysis had been removed from her laboratory just before the trial over concerns about her work.

Caster said prosecutors knew about that and should have turned over the forensic scientist’s personnel file to Parsons’ defense attorney.

A supervisor’s note in the personnel file, according to the judge’s decision, said the crime lab employee was having trouble at work and that her “findings and conclusions regarding evidence may be suspect. She will stretch the truth to satisfy a department.”

The ruling issued Thursday also noted there were questions about her testimony and failure to document her work.

The combined concerns cast “grave doubts about her credibility,” wrote Judge Thomas Pokorny, a retired judge from Cuyahoga County.

Parsons’ daughter said on Friday that her father doesn’t yet know about the ruling allowing to be released.

Her sister planned to tell him over the weekend. What they don’t know is whether he will understand.

His dementia is in the early stages and he also has trouble hearing. He was thought to be near death earlier this year and was placed in a hospice unit, but he improved enough to be moved to another area of a prison hospital in Columbus, said Sherry Parsons.

“I’ve been hoping for this time for a long time,” she said. “I just wish he was well enough to enjoy life.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide