NC man gets life in prison for woman's fatal scare

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Associated Press

Posted on November 21, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 21 at 4:41 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty in what prosecutors said was a case of scaring a 79-year-old North Carolina grandmother to death.

Multiple media outlets reported a federal jury found 21-year-old Larry Whitfield not guilty of murder Friday in the death of Mary Parnell last year. But they did find him guilty of causing her death by kidnapping her, and that carries an automatic life sentence.

Prosecutors say Whitfield was looking for somewhere to hide after a failed bank robbery attempt in Gastonia in September 2008 when he broke into Parnell's home.

Authorities say Whitfield never touched the grandmother, but she suffered a heart attack when she saw him, and he didn't call for help.

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Information from: WCNC-TV, http://www.wcnc.com/

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