The sentence was handed down Wednesday afternoon. A lot of people thought this was a death penalty case from the beginning.
David Meyer robbed Fred Parker in a Market Square bathroom in a seemingly random attack and stabbed him 11 times, but jurors who weighed all the evidence in the case recommended life in prison, and Wednesday Fred Parker's own family requested it too.
Jennifer Lavia, Fred Parker's daughter, says, "My family has suffered a great tragedy, please don't compound that tragedy by sentencing the defendant to die."
Fred Parker's oldest daughter asked the judge to spare David Meyer's life, saying her family doesn't need vengeance and doesn't want years of appeals.
Jennifer Lavia says, "This man will be in prison for the rest of his life. He won't be able to get out. He won't be able to kill anyone else."
Meyer was convicted last week of stabbing Fred Parker to death in a Market Square restroom. A jury recommended life in prison. Judge Dekker followed that recommendation, but said she would have imposed the death sentence without hesitation had that been recommended.
Rick Parker, Fred Parker's son, says, "As difficult as it is to do, I forgive you. I forgive you not for you, but for me, for unless I forgive you, I will carry the weight of your crime with me like so many chains. That is a weight I refuse to bear."
Also speaking out in court Wednesday was Parker's widow. She said emphatically that her husband was not an aggressive, confrontational person and the defense's suggestion that Meyer killed him in self defense was insulting and offensive.
It was an emotional afternoon.
Meyer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and he still must stand trial for the murder of his roommate in Palm Beach County.
Fred Parker's son told Meyer he should thank the jury every day for sparing his life, but it is almost routine for an appeal to be filed in a murder case.
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