CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty in what prosecutors said was a case of scaring a 79-year-old North Carolina grandmother to death.
Multiple media outlets reported a federal jury found 21-year-old Larry Whitfield not guilty of murder Friday in the death of Mary Parnell last year. But they did find him guilty of causing her death by kidnapping her, and that carries an automatic life sentence.
Prosecutors say Whitfield was looking for somewhere to hide after a failed bank robbery attempt in Gastonia in September 2008 when he broke into Parnell's home. Authorities say Whitfield never touched the grandmother, but she suffered a heart attack when she saw him, and he didn't call for help. According to WCNC, Parnell's husband found her four hours later.
Parnell's son-in-law David Hains spoke to WCNC, "He committed this crime with callous indifference. My mother-in-law had a heart attack right in front of this guy, and he didn't even have the decency to call an ambulance...All he cared about was himself, and he can think about that for the rest of his life in jail."