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No death penalty in pregnant Idaho woman’s killing

Fri., Oct. 23, 2009, 11:24 a.m.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Prosecutors in northern Idaho say they will not seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing his pregnant wife and then setting the home on fire.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson filed the notice of intent Wednesday. He said he made the decision not so seek the death penalty for 25-year-old Silas Parks because the evidence doesn’t meet the necessary requirements.

Parks is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson in connection with the June 24 death of his pregnant wife, 28-year-old Sarah J. Parks. He has pleaded not guilty.

“The case doesn’t change, he is still facing first-degree murder charges,” Thompson told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

If convicted, he faces a life in prison for each first-degree murder charge. The arson charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Court records show Parks’ wife was 20 weeks pregnant at the time of her death. Officials say she died of either suffocation or strangulation before the fire. Her charred body was found June 24 on a bed in a spare bedroom.

A state investigator concluded the fire that started on the bed where Parks’ body was not accidental.

It’s unclear when the trial will start. Second District Judge John Stegner was disqualified without cause from the case earlier this month by Parks’ co-counsel, Charles Kovis.

The pretrial conference was scheduled for Feb. 8, and the trial had been scheduled to begin March 22. Thompson said those dates could change.

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