BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man charged with the beating death of a 23 month old child has been found guilty of second degree murder. Randy Parker, 27, was charged with first-degree murder but instead Judge Trudy White found Parker guilty of second degree murder.
Judge White said she did not believe he had the specific intent to kill the child but did punish him in a way that led to his death.
Parker waived his right to a jury trial and instead asked that a judge decide his fate. In this case, a second degree murder conviction carries the same penalty as the first degree – life in prison without a chance at parole.
Parker had to be taken from court room after he started sobbing loudly. Those in the courtroom say he could be heard crying down the hall.
The victim's family left the courthouse elated with the outcome.
"Now my grandson can rest in peace," Sue Gray said. "Knowing that his killer in behind the bars for the rest of his life!"
Demarcus Stokes was found dead in October 2011 at his home on Erie Street. Investigators say the child was covered in bruises and the child's mother, Kim Stokes, waited for three hours to call for help after first noticing that the child was having trouble breathing.
According to the probable cause report, Parker told police he "whipped" the child with a belt, which caused him to hit his head in the bathroom. He then took the child to Stokes, his girlfriend.
Stokes is being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison without bond. She is charged with cruelty to juveniles and obstruction of justice. A trial date has not yet been set.
During the initial investigation, Baton Rouge Police officers claimed to have found stolen electronics inside the home. They also located there other young children. Reports say the children all showed signs of neglect.
Along with Parker, deputies arrested Brandon Tate and Kierra Golman. They were all charged with possession of stolen things. The murder charge against Parker was later added.
Tate and Golman were released on bond. After several continuances, Tate did not show up for court in October 2014. He is assigned for a status hearing on July 8.
Charges were dismissed against Golman in May 2012.