Family wants answers in death of allegedly battered wife
By: Mike Beaudet
Producer Kevin Rothstein
More than a year later, the death of Kim Parker, an allegedly battered wife from East Bridgewater, is still a mystery.
Her husband, Richard Parker, a retired Boston firefighter once lauded as one of the heroes of 9/11, is free on bail. He' s still facing charges of trying to kill her, charges that have remained even though Kim, the victim and sole witness, is now dead.
It all leaves her family suspicious and angry, angry that more than a year later there still isn't an official explanation for how she died.
"I think it's suspicious. He tried to kill her. And then she's dead in his company," said Ed Boleza, the brother of Parker.
Parker suffered from seizures ever since falling in her driveway several years ago, a fall whose cause remains a point of contention with her family, who suspect it wasn't an accident as her husband said.
Raising their suspicions is allegations that led to Parker's current pending charges, allegations of a drunken assault that left Kim Parker running petrified, into the woods next to her house. Her 911 call shows the fear in her voice.
"My husband's trying to kill me, he's got knives going," she said, sobbing. "I'm out in the street. I ran out of the house."
According to a statement Parker later gave to police, her husband was "mad" because she wouldn't go to a Christmas party with him.
"He was drunk," Parker wrote, when he returned home around 1:30 a.m. and forced her into their bedroom.
"(He) got knife out and started throwing it at wall repeatedly beside me," she wrote. "He put knife to my neck and said he would kill me."
Parker ran out of the house, taking with her her beloved Golden Retrievers, which her husband had also threatened to kill, she said.
"I can't see him," she sobbed to the 911 dispatcher. "He might come through the woods."
Police arrested Richard Parker after finding him hiding in the woods. His charges were eventually upgraded to Superior Court and included kidnapping and assault to murder. He spent the next six months in custody before getting out on bail and eventually moving back into the house with Kim. Months later, on March 10th, 2013, Kim died mysteriously at her home. Kim and Richard were the only ones there.
"When I got to the hospital he told me what had happened. She just had taken the dogs for a walk, she fell down out in the yard. She had a seizure and some unknown amount of time went by and he went out, did CPR, called 911, and then they brought her to the hospital," said Ed Boleza, Kim's brother.
"I can't explain to anyone what it feels like to have someone you love taken away from you by someone that you also loved at one point. Someone that you trusted with the most precious thing you had," said Stephanie Deeley, Kim’s sister.
Deeley and her brother are frustrated the assault to murder case didn't result in a conviction before their sister died.
"I will live the rest of my life wondering if he had gone to jail would she still be with me?" she said.
And they are frustrated they still don't know the cause of Kim's death. The Plymouth County District Attorney's office, which is investigating the case, is still waiting for autopsy results from the state Medical Examiner's office.
Deeley is also troubled by a conversation she had with Richard Parker at the hospital, right after Kim died.
"He said to me, 'Well, one good thing that comes of this is that Kim didn't want me to go to jail and now all the charges will go away.' This is literally within minutes of her dying. And we're standing over her body," Deeley said.
"What did you think when he said that?" FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked her.
"What I thought was, 'You son of a bitch,'" Deeley replied.
Despite attempts by Richard Parker's attorneys, who say their client will be found not guilty of all charges, the criminal case has not gone away.
"My client is a former captain of the Boston Fire Department who has served with honor, distinction, and has had a lot of commendations. And in addition, he was one of the first responders to 9/11," said Parker's defense attorney, Gerald Noonan.
Parker was interviewed by FOX 25 in 2001 when he responded to Grond Zero as part of a FEMA team that responded to the terror attacks.
"It was overwhelming, I think, to see the scope of the damage that was there," Parker told FOX 25 at the time.
Parker faced our camera again this year on his way into Brockton Superior Court, where his assault to murder case is still working its way through the system.
"Did you have anything to do with her death?" Beaudet asked him.
"Of course not. We're not here for that," he replied.
"Can you tell us what happened that day?" Beaudet asked.
"I'm not going to make any comments now but I told you already I had nothing to do with it. And that's not why we're here," he said as he headed into court.
Defense attorney Noonan insists his client did not kill Kim Parker.
"My position is my client did nothing inappropriate whatsoever at all. And the (Medical Examiner) has conducted the autopsy and we do not have a copy of it," Noonan said outside of court.
No one has a copy of the autopsy, because it's not yet completed. The state Medical Examiner's office told the family it's still waiting for toxicology results that will determine if ricin was in Kim Parker's system. It's a key question because police responded to the Parker home another time in 2011 when Richard Parker tried to kill himself with ricin he had made, records show.
A spokesperson for Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said in a statement that "The cause and manner of death are still pending from the medical examiner. It's frustrating for the family - we understand that. We want them to know we're committed to this."
The statement pointed to the delay in getting results from the state Medical Examiner as part of the reason Parker's case hasn't gone to trial.
"At this point the domestic violence case is pending because how she died is relevant to that case," the statement said.
That's cold comfort for Kim Parker' s family.
"I don't know what happened the night she died. I suspect I am never going to know what happened the night she died. But I will always be suspicious," said Deeley.
"It seems like the system is letting you down," Beaudet said.
"I'm beginning to think the system just doesn't work," Deeley replied.