04/25/2012

Church murderer killed by off-duty officer was on early release

Served time in Okla. prison for assaulting an officer

By P. Solomon Banda
Associated Press

AURORA, Colo. — A man who shot and killed a woman at a Colorado church before he was killed by an off-duty police officer had been released early from an Oklahoma prison after serving time for assaulting an officer, authorities said Tuesday.

Aurora police identified the suspect as 29-year-old Kiarron (kee-AIR-ehn) Parker of Denver. Records show he was convicted in 2009 in Oklahoma for assaulting a police officer and for burglary.

Investigators say Parker sped into the parking lot of New Destiny Center church in Aurora on Sunday and shot and killed Josephine Echols, the mother of a pastor at the church. An off-duty Denver police officer who was attending a church service then shot and killed Parker, authorities said.

Investigators have not said why they think the gunman sped into the parking lot, crashed into a car and started firing at people who came to his aid.

Parker originally was to serve a prison sentence on his Oklahoma convictions through 2021. But the sentence was suspended in November after he completed education and substance abuse programs, said Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Massie said Parker served time from December 2009 to November. Oklahoma closed Parker's case in December.

Massie said the corrections department started making arrangements for Parker to be supervised when he transferred to Colorado but that an Oklahoma court ultimately decided not to place him under supervision.

Parker also served about three years in the Colorado prison system for possessing a controlled substance in Arapahoe County. He was discharged in November 2008, said Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti.

According to Colorado court records, Parker most recently pleaded guilty on April 13 to driving with a suspended license — a case that stemmed from a January 2009 citation for failing to stop at a stop sign. He was due to be sentenced in August.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press

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