[Vision2020] PR - Domestic Violence Awareness

Art Deco deco at moscow.com
Wed Sep 28 15:20:42 PDT 2011

Thank you to MPD Chief David Duke for this press release reminding us of the horrors of domestic abuse that can occur here on the Palouse.

It is fitting that we remember at this time of the abuse, murder, and body burning of Sarah Parks by her husband, confessed murderer Silas Parks, who according to the news story below wants his sentence reduced.  A strange variation of "The Devil Made Me Do It" defense is presented by Parks.

Parts of the story below have been bolded to highlight the horror of this event and why Parks ought never see the light of day in public again in my opinion.


Parks wants his sentence reduced 
By David Johnson of the Tribune | Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:00 am 

MOSCOW - From behind bars in the Idaho State Penitentiary at Boise, convicted killer Silas Benjamin Parks continues to make a pitch for leniency by writing letters to the judge who sentenced him and more recently challenging the competency of the lawyers who defended him.

The letters delve into circumstances surrounding the June 24, 2009, deaths of his wife and unborn daughter. In the letters, Parks admits he caused the deaths, but not to the criminal degree leading to his lengthy prison sentence.

"My continued incarceration serves no purpose," Parks asserts in one letter addressed to 2nd District Judge Jeff Brudie of Lewiston.

Most recently, Parks, 26, claims Moscow defense attorneys D. Ray Barker and Charles Kovis provided "ineffective assistance" by failing to file an appeal when requested and failing to rebut presentence testimony that might have biased Brudie's decision. Both Barker and Kovis declined to comment on Parks' petition.

Brudie, who is reviewing a motion for reduced sentencing filed last November by Barker and Kovis, sentenced Parks on two counts of voluntary manslaughter and one count of first-degree arson to at least 20 years in prison and possibly up to 40.

Parks pleaded guilty, as the result of a plea agreement, in the deaths of Sarah Parks and the couple's unborn child. According to criminal complaints, Parks suffocated his wife and then torched the couple's home. Sarah Parks' body was found on a bed, charred beyond recognition.

In one of his letters to Brudie, Parks claims to suffer from intermittent explosive disorder and suggests he woke in an episode of rage and accidentally struck his wife in the solar plexus; a blow from which she was not able to recover her breath.

As for starting the bed on fire where his pregnant wife's body lay, Parks claims through his attorneys the act was a "reaction to irrational panic," according to court records.

"At this point, I can not distinguish between the details of what I actually remember, what I think must have happened, and what others have told me must have happened," Parks wrote. "All I know is I woke up in an explosive state, and by the time I knew what was happening, Sarah was already gone."

As for the fire, Parks wrote he's always appreciated the image of the phoenix, a mythical bird, rising from the dead through fire to live again. "I had hoped, almost expected, that she would rise again like the phoenix. I was certainly not in my right mind at that time. I wanted to burn up in the fire myself ..., I burnt the house down trying to bring her back to life. It was pure insanity."

Authorities reported that Parks left the scene of the fire to work out at a local gym and, upon return to his burning home, denied any knowledge of what had happened. "I came back from the gym fully expecting to see Sarah outside waiting for me," Parks wrote in one of the letters to Brudie. "When she wasn't there and I couldn't find her, it was like she had died all over again."

Parks contends in his self-authored petition for post-conviction relief, at the time a plea agreement was being negotiated he was suffering from "complicated bereavement" and was under the impression that, since he had caused the victims' deaths - "whatever the circumstances" - it had to be legally considered at least manslaughter.

Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson Jr., in an answer to the motion for a reduced sentence, wrote no new evidence is offered by the defense that would warrant Brudie considering leniency.

The court file also contains a letter to Brudie written by Parks' mother, Ann Parks of Kendrick. She suggests her son suffers from Asberger syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism. Expert witnesses have also offered conflicting testimony as to Parks' mental and emotional health. "I hope you are able to see there was much more love than conflict (in her son's marriage)," Ann Parks wrote to Brudie, "that there was not intention to inflict harm, that there was a deep desire to understand and treat the cause."

In his latest letter to Brudie, Parks suggests terms for his release from prison, saying he'd live with his parents at first, find a job, participate in anger management counseling, work on his parents' rural property, do community service and finish a college degree.

Barker and Kovis also endorse Parks' early release, writing in their motion he needs "individualized psychotherapy to deal with his intermittent explosive disorder. There is no risk Mr. Parks will commit another crime. His nature is such that criminal conduct is abhorrent to him."

Thompson last week labeled "disappointing" Parks' recent petition for leniency. "He's now trying to make excuses for himself instead of maintaining and accepting responsibility."

The prosecution has 30 days from the time of last week's filing to respond to Parks' petition for leniency. Meanwhile, it remains unclear when Brudie will render a decision on the defense attorneys' motion for a reduced sentence.

From: Stephanie Kalasz 
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:26 AM
To: vision2020 at moscow.com 
Subject: [Vision2020] PR - Domestic Violence Awareness

City of Moscow 


206 E Third Street

Moscow, ID 83843

Contact: Gary J. Riedner, City Supervisor

p     |  208-883-7006

e     |   griedner at ci.moscow.id.us

w    |  www.ci.moscow.id.us



Title:  One is Too Many: Connect to End Domestic Violence 


September 28, 2011 -This year alone, eighteen domestic violence related fatalities have taken place in Idaho; as compared to thirteen fatalities in 2010. Also in 2010, law enforcement agencies statewide responded to 6,177 incidents of intimate partner violence. The need to address the devastating effects of violence on families and communities has never been more urgent. One fatality, one incident, one child exposed to domestic violence is one too many.  


Domestic violence shatters lives, destroys families, and devastates communities in our state. We must come together to prevent and respond to the needs of victims of domestic violence and to make sure that offenders are held accountable for the violence.  Consider:


  a.. Domestic violence programs report higher demand for services that what is currently available. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence 2010 Census Count, Idaho-based domestic violence programs reported a critical shortage of funds and staff to assist victims in need of services. In one 24-hour period, 517 victims of domestic violence and their children received life-saving services from local domestic violence program throughout the state.  Domestic violence victim advocates answered 152 emergency hotline calls.  Approximately 340 adults and children received non-residential assistance and services, including individual counseling, legal advocacy, and children's support groups.  At the same time, 67 requests for services went unmet, largely due to lack of funding. A request for assistance should never go unmet.
  a.. Domestic violence results in negative health consequences. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 37% of all women in the United States who sought care in hospital emergency rooms for violence-related injuries were injured by a spouse or dating partner. 
  a.. Domestic violence harms our children and youth. In Idaho, approximately 16,000 children witness domestic violence each year. Exposure to domestic violence has can have long-term effects on children including delayed development, problems in school, and eventual involvement in other abusive relationships. 

Domestic violence is a community problem that requires a community-wide solution. To end domestic violence, everyone - domestic violence programs, criminal justice systems, governmental and non-governmental agencies, health care systems, and educational systems, and friends, family, and neighbors - must take a stand to increase the safety of victims and hold offenders accountable for their actions.


During October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we take time to remember those victims whose lives have been tragically taken, encourage and support survivors who have escaped abuse, and address the importance and value of community connectedness to prevent and respond to domestic violence. This October, and throughout the year, let's connect with one another to end domestic violence. It's our responsibility to not look away from violence. We must acknowledge it and demand accountability.  


The City of Moscow Police Department and Alternatives To Violence Of The Palouse along with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, pledge to engage systems and individual allies to build a violence-free society. One more incident, one more fatality, one more child exposed to domestic violence is one too many. We ask our community to join in the movement to end domestic violence.



Story Contact: Chief David Duke

Phone: 208-883-7059

Email: dduke at ci.moscow.id.us



The City of Moscow delivers quality municipal services while ensuring responsible use of resources. We anticipate and meet the needs of our diverse population in order to build public trust and enhance a sense of community.




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