Convicted murderer returns to court | News | The Press and Standard

by | May 31, 2017 5:00 pm

Last Updated: May 31, 2017 at 11:14 am

On May 25, 2006, Rodney Parker left the main courtroom of the Colleton County Courthouse facing a life sentence, without the possibility of parole, for his part in the slaying of an employee of a Colleton County business.

Eleven years later, Parker was back in the courtroom on May 25 for a reconsideration of his prison term.

A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller vs. Alabama and the 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling in Aiken vs. Byars brought Parker back to the Colleton County Courthouse.

Parker returned to have the “without the possibility of parole” clause removed from his life sentence.

Miller vs. Alabama successfully sought to challenge the state’s sentencing structure when dealing with juveniles convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sentencing juveniles to life without parole violated the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

That ruling was followed by the filing of Aiken vs. Byars in the South Carolina Supreme Court.

That case was filed on behalf of Parker and 14 other inmates who had been tried as adults, found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without parole.

After a hearing on the case, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the provisions of Miller vs. Alabama had to be followed, and those inmates would have to be returned to the courtroom where they had been convicted and sentenced during a hearing that would remove “without possibility of parole” from their original sentences.

Fourteenth Circuit Court Deputy Solicitor Steve Knight handled the resentencing hearing; ironically, he prosecuted Parker’s original trial in 2006. Knight said he had not realized Parker was in the courtroom for the resentencing 11 years to the day after he had been originally sentenced.

After an hour-long hearing, 14h Circuit Court Judge Perry Buckner followed the new letter of the law and removed the “without possibility of parole” portion of the original sentence.

The removal of the clause should have no affect on Parker spending his life behind bars.

Parker was 16 when he shot and killed English Jack Savage, a clerk at the Ashepoo Grocery store in Green Pond, on Dec. 10, 2003. The killing was part of an armed robbery of the store by Parker and Jaquan Ferrell.

Seventeen days after the robbery, members of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office caught up with Parker and Ferrell after a 15-hour manhunt and took them into custody.

After the 2006 sentence, Parker, who lived in Orangeburg County at the time of his arrest, went into the prison system. In addition to the life sentence on the murder charge, Parker was given 30 years on the armed robbery charge, also filed in connection with the Green Pond incident.

In addition to the Colleton County sentences, Parker appeared in Orangeburg County General Sessions Court that same year and received 25-year sentences on three counts of armed robbery and 20 years on a charge of carjacking with bodily  injury.

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