Man sentenced for frying pan assault in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. — A schizophrenic who crept into a Portland home and hit a sleeping 6-year-old girl with a cast iron frying pan was found guilty except for insanity and sentenced to serve at least seven years.

Michael Jerard Parker, 29, will be under the watch of the Psychiatric Security Review Board for 30 years, but the panel typically releases such defendants long before that, The Oregonian reported Monday.

Police say Parker entered the home in a quiet north Portland neighborhood in June 2011 and hit the girl then struggled with her 36-year-old father, a former boxer.

Parker also hit the man with the frying pan, breaking the handle, as well as a lamp and a microphone stand while breaking the father’s wrist, police said. The father stabbed Parker with a kitchen knife before Parker fled and was arrested later at his house after a two-hour standoff with police.

The family didn’t know the girl was injured until she awoke with a headache and a fracture.

Prosecutors said the father and daughter have recovered, and she has no memory of the attack.

Parker went on trial in 2012 but interrupted it with outbursts. Multnomah County Judge Kenneth Walker stopped the proceedings and sent Parker to the state hospital, where he was treated for seven months then deemed fit for trial.

A plea deal was reached as the trial was to resume. Judge Walker found Parker guilty except for insanity of assault and robbery. Parker also pleaded no contest to burglary.

At minimum, Parker must serve 7 1/2 years. He has served almost three years since his arrest. If employees at the state mental hospital determine he no longer needs treatment before that minimum sentence is up, he would be sent to the prison system to serve the remainder.

Defense attorney Lisa Ludwig said Parker’s mother also suffered from schizophrenia and lived in a group home while he was raised by his grandmother and great grandmother.

In 1999, at age 14, he was sentenced to MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility for shooting to death a 20-year-old man in a Portland alley and wounding a 19-year-old in the neck. He spent several years at MacLaren.

He seemingly got his life back on track by enrolling at Oregon State University. Signs of schizophrenia began to show up after he turned 20, and he chose to hide the disease, chalking up his emerging odd behavior to drug abuse, Ludwig said.

“He actually got checked into the hospital because he was exhibiting mental symptoms, but the tox screen came back negative,” Ludwig said. “He’d rather be thought of as a drug user than a person with mental illness.”

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