Gregory Parsons - Wrongful Conviction

May 26, 2021
Gregory Parsons was wrongfully convicted of killing his own mother.
Gregory Parsons was wrongfully convicted of killing his own mother.

When Gregory Parsons was only nineteen he would endure an unbelievable hardship of a wrongful conviction of murder. The events that lead up to his wrongful conviction were his mentally ill mother lying and constructing a story that would ultimately lead to him being wrongfully convicted of her murder. On January 2nd, 1991, Gregory found his mother’s dead body in her home.  She had been murdered, as she was found stabbed to death in a pool of her own blood. He was in fact the person that called 911. Later on, the police officers who investigated the crime scene focused on Gregory despite evidence of a forced entry at the crime scene. As Gregory’s mother had told numerous people that she felt threatened by her son and feared for her safety the police immediately suspected Gregory. On January 10, 1991, Gregory was arrested and charged with his mother’s murder.

On January 18, 1991, Gregory was released on bail and awaited his trial.Two years later, Gregory’s murder trial began, on September 23, 1993. He tried by judge and jury. At trial, the jury heard from many witnesses who recalled that Catherine had made statements expressing her fear of her son and her belief that he might kill her. The jury was convinced despite there being no physical evidence to connect Gregory to his mother’s death. On February 15, 1994, Gregory was convicted of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 15 years.

Gregory went on to appeal his conviction. He also applied to be released on bail until his appeal would commence. Gregory was granted bail  on March 24’1995 despite his conviction partially due to the fact that his conviction rested entirely on circumstantial evidence. Gregory’s appeal started on March 11, 1996. The Newfoundland Court of Appeal found that Gregory’s conviction had been a mistake as there had been serious errors made by the trial judge. On December 3, 1996, the Newfoundland Court of Appeal quashed Gregory’s conviction and ordered a new trial. At Gregory’s new trial

. On January 26, 1998 New DNA testing techniques proved that he could not have been his mother’s killer.  As such the Crown chose not to proceed with a new trial  and a Stay of Proceedings was entered on February 2, 1998. Although Gregory would not undergo a new trial, his name was not officially cleared. AIDWYC took Gregory’s case and fought for his acquittal. On November 5, 1998, Gregory was acquitted. The Minister of Justice publically apologized “to Gregory … and his family for the disruption to their lives and the extreme anguish they have had to endure over the past eight years.”

Gregory would go on to receive compensation for his wrongful conviction, a public acknowledgement of the miscarriage of justice he endured. Gregory has shown tremendous resilience despite the tragedy he has endured. As Gregory said, “My children don’t want for anything, I’m pleased to say. They have a very happy life, and, basically, it brings me the utmost happiness every day….  That’s worth more to me than anything.”

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