Richard E. Parker, 56, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder for shooting and killing his wife Cindy M. Parker, 45, and aggravated malicious wounding and shooting of Michael Dudley outside a restaurant on Jefferson Davis Highway on June 23 last year.
Circuit Court Judge Harold E. Burgess Jr. said that the sentence was functionally equal to a life sentence, according to reports, although prosecutor David Rigler called the sentence inadequate. While Parker’s shooting left his four daughters, Cherry, Hanna, Vanessa and Molly, without parents, his actions also left Dudley with a bullet in his stomach.
Dudley testified at the sentence hearing describing what he and his friend Joshua Tuggle witnessed on that warm June evening. His testimony mirrored an account published in a Village News article last summer.
On Wednesday, June 23, Dudley and his best friend, Tuggle, both Thomas Dale graduates, were walking out of Pietro’s Italian Restaurant after eating dinner, he said. Suddenly, “this lady came running up to us,” and asked for help because a man was hitting her, Dudley said. The woman, Cindy Parker, ran toward the restaurant while her husband walked over to the friends, Tuggle said.
Although Dudley and Tuggle were unaware of Parker’s history at the time, they later learned that Parker had accused his wife of cheating on him and had been unemployed for more than a year.
Dudley said he asked Parker what was wrong with him; Parker replied nothing was wrong and that the woman was his wife. Parker then ran after his wife.
“He threw her so hard into the door” of the restaurant that part of the glass shattered,” Tuggle admitted. Dudley said he remembers thinking it was good that the couple was close to the restaurant, because someone would inevitably come out to help.
But, 10 to 15 seconds passed and no one came out.
“I guess, as a natural reaction, I just took off full speed after him,” he said. Tuggle followed his friend. Dudley grabbed Parker and threw him off his wife, he said. Dudley said he saw Parker fingering something in his pocket, but Tuggle saw Parker pulling the gun out.
“I was like, ‘Michael, we’ve got to go,’” Tuggle said.
“He points the gun at me, freezes for a second, then turns to his left and fires at her,” Dudley said. “At this point, I’m thinking about running. … Then he shoots me.”
Dudley is currently attending Virginia State University on an alternate athletic scholarship.
Parker’s daughters Cherry, 24 and Vanessa, 19 attended the sentencing but did not testify.