A man was ordered to death row Tuesday afternoon in Monroe County.
Michael Parrish of Effort, convicted of shooting to death his girlfriend and toddler son, was formally sentenced to death.
Just before the judge sentenced the convicted killer, he made a statement to the court.
Half of the statement was in another language. In Arabic Parrish told reporters, “Peace be upon you,” as he was escorted into the courtroom for his formal sentencing.
Last month, a jury found Parrish guilty of shooting Victoria Adams and their young son, Sidney, in 2009. The murders happened at the couple’s home near Effort.
That same jury decided Parrish should get the death penalty for his crimes.
Now it was the judge’s turn to formally sentence Parrish.
In court, only one family member spoke on behalf of the victims’ family.
The judge then asked if Parrish would like to make a statement and he did.
First in English, then he translated what he said into Arabic.
He told the judge, “I bear witness that Allah is the only one true God and Muhammad is his messenger,” stated Parrish.
Then the judge formally sentenced Parrish to death row. “May God, in His infinite wisdom, have mercy on your soul,” said President Judge Margherita Worthington.
“It was really nice to hear the judge say sentenced to death. That really gave me a good feeling,” said Malcom Adams, Victoria’s father.
The family member who spoke inside the courtroom was Victoria’s aunt, who was also pleased with the death sentence, however she told the judge she would prefer life in prison for the convicted killer.
“So he could sit there and think about what he did for the rest of his life,” said Anne Adams Wagner.
“I wanted to hear an apology. I wanted to hear something, some kind of remorse from him, and there was nothing,” said Kim Adams, Victoria’s mother.
“He apologized in a four page letter shortly after being taken into custody. His apology is of long standing. He felt that after careful reflection, what he said in court was the most appropriate thing to say at this time,” said Parrish’s attorney Wieslaw Niemoczynski.
“Out of everything here there’s no winners, there’s all losers. Everybody lost. That’s it,” said Joseph Parrish, Michael Parrish’s father.
“The good thing is he’s on death row and is safe from the public and will perpetrate no more evil on law-abiding citizens,” said Monroe County District Attorney David Christine.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections website there are 202 people listed on death row, not including Parrish.
The last person executed in Pennsylvania was Gary Heidnik in 1999.