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Man resentenced in ’04 rape case, still gets life

LISBON — A 59-year-old former Kensington man who has been serving a life sentence for the past 15 years at the Trumbull Correctional Institution, returned to Columbiana County Monday for a resentencing hearing.

James M. Parks, who was found guilty of rape with force and age specification by a jury in early February 2004, was sentenced a month later by the former Judge C. Ashley Pike.

Parks recently filed a pro se motion, a motion filed by the defendant without an attorney, asking Judge Megan Bickerton to resentence him.

In Common Pleas Court on Monday, Parks questioned that there was no force specification in the initial indictment. The force specification was part of what allowed for Pike to sentence Parks to a lifetime of incarceration.

Bickerton told Parks while it was not in the indictment, after hearing the evidence, the 12-person jury found him guilty of the first-degree felony charge and both an age specification, due to the child victim being less than 10 years old, and a force specification.

Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said he believed technically, Parks was correct and should be resentenced if Parks requested it.

Although the life sentence was not changed, Bickerton went ahead to explain post release control to Parks, which she said according to the record was only touched upon. Should Parks ever be granted parole by the parole board, he will be placed on a period of five years of post release control.

Earlier during the hearing Parks also started to argue that prior to his trial his attorney did not even request discovery, but Bickerton cut him off. She pointed out those arguments have already been sent to the Seventh District Court of Appeals and did not overturn his conviction. On Monday, she was only going to deal with matters regarding his sentencing on March 1, 2004.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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