NEW YORK – A butcher who hacked his wife to death on a Manhattan street with a boning knife because he believed she was cheating on him could now face life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder.
The jury took less than two hours Tuesday to convict Sergio Parra, who had been accused of fatally slashing and stabbing Jahaira Parra in their Washington Heights neighborhood on Sept. 16, 2004.
Police said shortly after Parra's arrest that he had gone into the barbershop where his estranged 27-year-old wife worked as a cleaner and asked to speak with her. Once outside, police said, he stabbed her more than 20 times, striking her in the chest and eyes while bystanders watched.
A volunteer police officer in the area grabbed Parra and held him with the help of several passers-by until more police came.
The wife, a native of the Dominican Republic, was pronounced dead less than an hour later at a hospital.
Parra's lawyer, David Blackstone, had acknowledged that his client killed her but said he did it while suffering extreme emotional disturbance because she had left him.
Parra, 28, could face 25 years to life in prison when Justice Michael Obus sentences him April 6. If the jury had found he acted under extreme emotional disturbance, the conviction would have been for first-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Witnesses told police that Parra suspected his wife was having an affair after she disappeared for several days.