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Stepfather found guilty of murder


Repo...@home.com Aug 28, 1999 12:00 AM
Posted in group: alt.true-crime
The following two news articles both appear courtesy of the 8/25/99
online
edition of The Arizona Republic newspaper:

Stepfather found guilty of murder

Testimony of wounded wife comes before jury's verdict

By Mike McCloy
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 25, 1999

A jury convicted Glendale maintenance man Wayne Prince of first-degree
murder
and first-degree attempted murder on Tuesday for the shooting death of
his
teenage stepdaughter and serious wounding of the girl's mother.

Earlier in the day, Prince made a tearful bid to escape the death
chamber,
saying he grabbed a .22-caliber pistol to chill a quarrel, and only
accidentally killed 13-year-old Cassie Parker and blew apart the jaw of
his
wife, Christy Parker.

Now divorced, Christy Parker testified Monday in Maricopa County
Superior Court
that Prince repeatedly beat her and threatened to kill her entire family
when
she told him to get a job and give her a divorce.

"He violated every law of humanity," Parker said, adding that her former

husband should get the death penalty when he is sentenced next month.

"Our children are our most precious things. I still have to live every
day
without that little girl in my life," she said.

Prince admitted that he locked the victims in their apartment during a
quarrel
on March 25, 1998. He ripped out a telephone cord so they could not call
police
and used a pillow as a silencer.

But, public defender Emmet Ronan said, Prince acted out of "raw
emotion." The
killing was not premeditated, so his client should be convicted of
manslaughter
or second-degree murder, Ronan said. County prosecutor Cleve Lynch
disagreed.

"They're asking for an easy way out," Lynch told the jury. He said the
killing
was "premeditated, first-degree murder."

Prince denied Parker's allegations of death threats and abuse. But on
the night
of the slaying, Prince admitted, they were quarreling and he pushed
Parker so
hard that her head broke a 3-inch-diameter hole in a closet wall.

"She was screaming at me: I'm going to pay for that, and I'm going to
prison,"
said Prince, who was convicted of burglary in 1991. "She says, 'I'm
going to
kill you.' I went over to the night stand and I got the gun."

Prince said he only wanted to scare Parker so she would stop quarreling.

"Once I got the gun in my hand, it felt like I was in control, finally,"
he
said. "But it didn't work out that way."

The quarrel ended in Cassie's bedroom, with Prince holding the gun and a

pillow, and Parker standing between him and Cassie.

"I put the gun inside the pillow in my hand and punched her (Parker)
really
hard," Prince said. "She fell to the foot of the bed. I went to put the
gun in
my hand and the gun went off."

The gun was fired through the pillow, an inch away from Cassie's head,
and then
Parker was shot in the jaw, Lynch said.

"He didn't accidentally shoot two people."

The mostly middle-age jury of six women and eight men questioned
Prince's
story, as well. They asked Judge Michael McVey to clarify whether Prince

punched Parker on the right side of her face with his right hand while
he held
the gun and pillow in his left.

"Yes, sir, I did," Prince told the judge.

Ronan acknowledged that his client had a motive to lie, to avoid the
death
penalty.

Lynch produced a witness who backed up Parker's claims of being punched
as
early as November 1997, nine months after she married Prince. Parker
said one
blow branded her chest with the imprint of a small cross she wore on a
necklace.

"She showed me a bruise where her necklace had been," said Nicole
Heitkam, a
close friend of Parker.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Mother details killing of daughter

Tells court, 'He shot my daughter'

By Mike McCloy
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 25, 1999

Reeling from a punch to the head, Christy Parker said she looked into
her
daughter's face as she was shot to death by a stepfather enraged over
being
told to find a job.

"I heard the gunshot," Parker told a Maricopa County Superior Court jury

Monday. "She went straight back and went 'Ahhhh.' He shot my daughter!"

Wayne Prince, 28, appearing relaxed in a white, long-sleeve shirt, faced
his
former wife from the defense table. He is on trial for murder, attempted
murder
and child abuse.

"I heard the other gunshot. I was screaming, "You shot me too! You shot
me
too!' "

Parker recovered from her facial wound and divorced Prince. She
testified for
an hour about a pattern of abuse that climaxed March 25, 1998, in the
death of
her daughter, 13-year-old Cassie.

The couple had been married nine months when the ugliness erupted.

She, Cassie and a brother, Andrew, 10, had gone to a department store to
sit
for a family portrait in November 1997, when Prince pinched the back of
Andrew's neck so hard that it left a red mark, Parker said.

When Parker protested later in the car, Prince punched her, she said.

"He pulled a knife out and put it to my throat and told me he was going
to kill
me and put my body down a mine shaft in Wickenburg," Parker said.

Disputes over discipline led Parker to ask for a divorce.

"He said he would kill me before he would divorce me," Parker said.

Unknowingly, Parker had purchased the gun that would be used in the
shootings.
She bought the .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol in 1996 at Prince's
request,
and kept it in the master bedroom of their Glendale apartment.

The gun was in a closet until two or three weeks before the killing,
Parker
said. Then it was moved to a nightstand in the bedroom.

At the same time, Prince's anger increased, Parker said, telling jurors
that
she was beaten almost daily.

"Everything I did, he said I did wrong," she testified. "There was no
way to
make him happy. There was no way to keep things quiet. He was upset with
the
kids. I was tired."

Parker and Prince worked at cleaning apartments in their complex, but he
mostly
smoked cigarettes and visited while she scrubbed, Parker said.

The end came when Prince brought Cassie home late at night from a youth
meeting
at church, where a "jamfest" was planned for the following weekend.

Prince was asked to help with security, but he told church officials he
would
have to check with "the boss," his wife, Parker said.

"I told him to be a real man and get a job," she testified. "He wasn't
working
and was living off me."

During a lull in the yelling, Parker said she told Cassie, "This is it,
I'm
kicking him out tonight."

Parker asked for Prince's apartment key and their bank card. When he
turned to
leave, she grabbed his belt loop and it ripped.

Punches flew and Parker's head was shoved into a wall, she said. As
Parker ran
to protect her children, Prince got the gun and locked the apartment
doors, she
testified.

"I told Cassie to run," Parker said. "She got almost to the door. He
grabbed
her under her arm and threw her across the living room."

As Prince threatened to kill his family and himself, Parker dialed 911
on a
cordless telephone.

"It made the tone but there was nothing there," she said. "There was no
sound."


And there was no response when Parker looked into Prince's eyes, she
said.

When the punching and the shooting were over, Prince was found by
police,
hiding in a nearby vacant apartment.

Parker was holding her daughter, oblivious to her own bleeding from a
bullet
that entered behind her jaw and blew out her chin.

"I knew she was going to die because he shot her in the head. She said,
'Mama.'
She said, "Love you.' It was fading away. I put my hand on her chest,
over her
heart. It only beat three or four times, and then it stopped."

While Prince awaits the outcome of a trial that could result in the
death
penalty, Parker has worked at a west-Valley shelter for battered women.
The
shelter, Cassie's House, was dedicated to her daughter last year.