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Killer gets life in prison without parole for assault, murder of gay teen

Friday, April 13, 2012
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A judge in Baltimore, Md., has sentenced Dante Parrish, 37, to life in prison without parole for the savage assault and murder of Jason Mattison Jr., a 15-year old openly gay teen.

Dante Parrish (left) and Jason Mattison Jr.

Parrish was a family friend who had previously spent 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1999 — Jason was murdered in November 2009, less than one year after Parrish’s release.

Baltimore Circuit Judge John Addison Howard quoted an old Scottish prayer when handing down the sentence, which included a second life term for attempting to sexually assault Jason, before suffocating him with a pillowcase, slashing his throat and stuffing him in a bedroom closet.

“From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us,” Howard recited.

“To me,” he told Parrish, “you are every bit as frightening and more, because you are real.”

Parrish was convicted of theft and drug possession in 1992, making a false statement in 1993, malicious destruction of property in 1997 and murder in 1999, in the killing of an East Baltimore man, reported The Baltimore Sun.

He was sentenced to 30 years in prison in the case, but later convinced Maryland’s Innocence Project, a group that works to overturn wrongful convictions, that he had been wrongfully convicted.

After a new trial in 2008, he was sentenced to time served and released through a plea deal in January 2009 — Jason was murdered 11 months later.

Jason had been living at the home of a relative at the time of his murder.

During the trial Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Hastings said Jason was reportedly not welcome in his mother’s home because he was gay.

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