18 years ago, a star Centennial high school student athlete was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in a brutal attack in the home they shared. At 15 years old, Parker Chamberlin was sentenced to life in prison. Now, the prison system says his sentence should be reconsidered. That set the stage for a dramatic hearing in a downtown Bakersfield courtroom.
Patient, kind, intelligent, helpful, an advocate and an educator. Those are just a few of the words used to describe Parker Chamberlin today. These adjectives all came from people who’ve met Chamberlin during his time in prison and who believe he should be released.
Next week, we’ll hear from the prosecution’s witnesses who will likely say the opposite, but today, just about every word said can only be described as glowing. The courtroom was packed to capacity, something that only usually happens on television. Every seat was filled with Chamberlin’s family. But the family is heavily divided. Some feel he is a good man. Other’s feel he’s a murderous sociopath.
Today’s hearing began with an opening statement from Assistant Public Defender, Peter Kang: “Nothing can change the past…the past is written in stone, it’s written in permanent ink. But the court can make the decision now, the court has the tools to make a positive impact.”
Prosecutor Nick Lackie’s response: “Mr. Kang states the past is written in stone is written in ink…Mr.Chamberlin’s past is written in blood. The blood of his mother who lied defenseless in her bed on July 3rd 2001 when she was stabbed approximately 35 times by the defendant.”
With the burden being on the defense, Kang called his witnesses first. But before he could do that, Prosecutor Nick Lackie seemingly cautioned Judge Michael Bush-‘don’t be fooled by Chamberlin’s shining performance in prison.’
“He has not changed. He was by all accounts at the time of this murder the model student, the model child, and that is what he has been in CDC,” said Lackie.
Then, the defense’s witnesses one by one described what makes Chamberlin so exceptional in their eyes. They ranged from prison counselors, to doctors and professors involved with nonprofits who work with prisoners. Judge Bush even heard from Chamberlin’s former cellmate who said Chamberlin is deeply remorseful about his mother’s murder.
As the hours went on, Chamberlin was repeatedly called a leader and someone with the upmost moral standards.
Back in 2002, Chamberlin was sentenced to 25 years to life for first degree murder. Today, the law is different and prosecutors wouldn’t have been able to try him as an adult and therefore he would’ve already been released. Prosecutor Nick Lackie will present his witnesses next week in an attempt to get Judge Bush to uphold the life sentence.