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 woman to death.
Multiple media outlets report a federal jury found 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.
Whitfield, 21, was looking for somewhere to hide after a failed bank robbery attempt in Gastonia in September 2008 when he broke into Parnell's home, prosecutors said.
Whitfield never touched the grandmother, ordering her to go sit in a chair in her bedroom. She suffered a heart attack and begged Whitfield to call for help, authorities said.
Prosecutors said Whitfield was on the phone with his nursing student girlfriend when Parnell stopped breathing. She told him to call 911, but he didn't, authorities said.
"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," David Hains, Parnell's son-in-law, told WCNC-TV in Charlotte.
Whitfield, who had no criminal record, and an accomplice armed themselves with semiautomatic rifles and decided to rob a bank in Gastonia. But bank workers saw them coming and locked their doors. The pair then crashed their getaway car and split up as they tried to run away.
The accomplice, Quanterrious McCoy, also was arrested a short time later. He accepted a plea deal and is awaiting sentencing that could range from five years to life in prison.