Kenneth Parr, 27, was executed by lethal injection on 15 August 2007 in Huntsville, Texas for the rape and murder of a woman during a home invasion robbery.
On 21 January 1998 around midnight, two men burst into Linda "Suzie" Malek's Bay City trailer home through the front door. Armed with handguns and hiding their faces with bandanas, the men entered Malek's bedroom. Malek's screams awoke her children, 8-year-old Ashley and 6-year-old Zachary. According to Ashley's subsequent testimony, Malek and the children were ordered to lie face down on the ground. The men asked her whether she had a gun, and she said no. They then asked where her jewelry box was, and she told them. They then raped her and shot her twice in the head. They then ransacked the home, looking for valuables, and asked Ashley where her mother's car keys were. She told them, and they left. They were unable to operate the car's manual transmission, however, and one of them returned after a few minutes to ask Ashley how to start the car. She told them to hold in the clutch, and they went back outside. Still unable to start the car, they fled on foot, carrying the victim's purse, jewelry, and some electronic items including a VCR and a video game console.
Fearing that the men were still around and would come back, Ashley waited about thirty minutes before calling for help. She called her grandparents, Mike and Charlotte Brown, at about 2:00 a.m. She informed them that two men - one short and one tall - wearing bandanas had broken into their house and shot her mother. She told them that her mother was not alright and was not talking. When the Browns arrived at the house, they found Malek's car askew in the driveway, observed that the house had been ransacked, and found their daughter's body lying face-down on the floor.
Police discovered Malek's purse in a dumpster at an apartment complex across the street. Their investigation led to Monica Silva, a resident of the apartments. Much of the property stolen from Malek's home was found in hidden in an air conditioning vent in Silva's apartment, as was the murder weapon - a rusty .22-caliber rifle. Silva said that her boyfriend, Kenneth Parr, then 18, and his brother, Michael Jiminez, 17, had left those things there.
At Parr's trial, Silva testified that on the morning of the murder, she returned to her apartment to find Parr and Jiminez there. Jiminez was holding a jewelry box. Parr told her that they had used a gun to commit a burglary. She then took Parr to his mother's house. Parr informed her that he had hidden some items in her apartment. She found Malek's purse in a bag of trash.
Silva also testified that Parr and Jiminez admitted to planning the robbery and committing the murder. She testified that Jiminez said, "We were going to kill the kids, but the gun messed up."
Parr's mother also testified that he told her he shot someone.
A resident of Silva's apartment complex testified that she heard two gunshots on the night of the murder. Twenty minutes later, she heard two men arguing outside her window. She said the men were carrying a television and appeared to be Latino or African-American. Another resident testified that she saw and heard two men who she recognized as Kenneth Parr and Michael Jiminez talking.
The state also presented DNA evidence left on the victim's body from the rape.
Parr, who was on parole at the time of the murder, did not testify. The Texas Attorney General's Office issued a press release stating that Parr confessed to the murder, but this apparently referred to incriminating statements attributed to him in other witnesses' testimonies.
Continued on Page 2