Elizabethtown man sentenced up to 20 years for killing stepfather

Jonathan Parker (Photo: District Attorney's Office)

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — An Elizabethtown man will spend up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing his stepfather.

Jonathan Parker, 47, entered a guilty plea to second degree murder on Monday in Bladen County Superior Court.

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On the morning of October 19, 2015, authorities with the Elizabethtown Police Department were alerted to a domestic disturbance at a home on West Broad Street. When they arrived, officers found John Robert Cole, 78, face down in the living room of the home.

Cole had been beaten and suffered several stab wounds. Prior to the discovery of Cole’s body, eyewitnesses saw Parker, his stepson, running from the residence that he shared with his mother and Cole.

As Cole was given medical attention, law enforcement began a manhunt for Parker who was later located in a wooded area about a half mile from the crime scene. Cole later died from his injuries.

After being taken into custody, Parker admitted to “snapping” and killing Cole following an argument. Parker also informed officers of where the knife he used could be found.

Following his arrest, Parker was twice declared incapable of standing trial due to lack of mental capacity. However, following extended in-patient treatment at Central Regional Hospital, Parker’s capacity was restored and the criminal case against him was allowed to proceed.