Maurice Parks, the subway conductor who sought revenge after being mugged but ended up killing an innocent bystander, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Parks had been stabbed by a group of men in Harlem in January 2008; he came across a man he thought was one of his attackers, chased him 200 feet and stabbed him multiple times. Though his lawyer tried to argue he was under duress, Parks was found guilty last month.
The fiancee of the victim, Flonarza Byas, spoke before the sentencing. Stephanie Diaz tearfully said, "Maurice Parks took away part of my life when he murdered Flonarza Byas. I was forced to plan a funeral instead of a wedding" and asked the judge to punish him severely because he was a "ticking time bomb." (Parks was charged with attempted manslaughter in 1994 for shooting a man who tried to rob him, but was not indicted). But Byas's mother, Dyanne Byas, said from her wheelchair, "Let’s start the healing process by relinquishing the bitterness and anger that was brought forth with the death of my child. No one won in the courtroom today... I can ... forgive you."
CityRoom reports, "Criticizing Mr. Parks for not being repentant enough about the murder, which involved 15 stab wounds to Mr. Byas, with seven of those in his back, a few that cut bones, Justice [Carol] Berkman suggested that only prison could curb his violent streak. 'I don’t want to understand it,' she said. 'I want it to stop.'"