Circuit Court Judge Ashley McKathan sentenced Perry Demon Parrish, 54, to life in prison after a Covington County jury found him guilty in February of 17 child sex crimes. Parrish received a life sentence for each of 7 counts of Sodomy in the First Degree, a life sentence for each of 4 counts of Sexual Abuse of a Child Under the Age of 12, and a life sentence for each of six 6 counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree.
The sentences for the Sodomy I counts were ordered to run concurrently with each other, as were the sentences for the Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 12 counts and the Sexual Abuse I counts, respectively.
"Essentially, Mr. Parrish received three consecutive life sentences today, meaning that, when he finishes one life sentence, he begins another," explained Covington County District Attorney Greg Gambril, who prosecuted the case for the State at trial. "Judge McKathan gave him concurrent life sentences for each type of crime, but then ran the three types of crimes consecutively."
Gambril also explained that Parrish would not be eligible for parole for several of the offenses. "In 2005, the legislature enacted a statute that prohibits someone who is convicted of a sex crime involving a child under the age of 12 from being granted parole. Several of these acts occurred prior to the passage of that statute, but, fortunately, seven of his convictions fall under that statute."
"Obviously, I am very pleased with Judge McKathan's sentence," Gambril said. "Mr. Parrish was convicted of a child sex offense in 1984 that was later reversed and reduced to a lesser sentence. He was and now remains a convicted child sex offender. It's a relief to know that this predator is now going to be in prison for the remainder of his natural life and that no child will ever be threatened by him again."
"Parrish was convicted for crimes perpetrated on a single victim over a period of time extending from 2001, when the child was six, until January of 2008, when the child was 12." Gambril explained. "Once the victim had her first menstrual cycle, the abuse stopped. Within a few weeks, the victim reported to her mother what had occurred. Mr. Parrish then admitted his wrongdoings to the victim's mother, his sister, and his best friend, and then later in a letter to his young son written from jail."
The fact that April is Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month makes this conviction and sentence all the more important, Gambril said. "Parents need to speak to their kids about sexual abuse and they need to make it absolutely clear that, no matter what someone tells the child, they are never at fault and should always, always tell when someone does something to them," Gambril said. "This month, every elementary school classroom in Covington County will be visited by a member of the Blue Ribbon Campaign and instructed on sexual abuse awareness. Hopefully, this will be a large step towards preventing future child sexual abuse."
INFORMATION SOURCE: Covington County District Attorney's Office