Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jurors hear from man accused in murder of Pasco woman, 94

NEW PORT RICHEY — Jurors heard John Sexton's voice at length for the first time Wednesday morning, as prosecutors played a recording of his interview with detectives investigating the brutal murder of 94-year-old Ann Parlato.

In the recording, Sexton spoke casually about Parlato. When told about her death, he expressed surprise. When asked if he had been in her kitchen the night she died, he said she was kind and made him meals when he did yard work for her, but he wasn't there that night.

When asked what should happen to the person who murdered Parlato, Sexton gave a simple answer.

"I'm usually for capital punishment," Sexton said. "For murder."

Sexton, 49, is on trial this week for first-degree murder, accused of stabbing and mutilating Parlato in her Port Richey home. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if he is convicted.

Detective Jason Hatcher, who was the first officer to question Sexton, testified that Sexton was nervous and hid his hands when they spoke.

Sexton told Hatcher about his whereabouts the night of Sept. 22, 2010. He said he did visit Parlato, but at sundown to ask for more work. Later that night, he said, he fought with his wife, who was upset about his drinking, and he went to the Hayloft bar to have a beer.

Hatcher put on gloves and held up Sexton's blood-stained clothes for the jury to see.

DNA and crime scene analyst Lisa Thomas analyzed Sexton's T-shirt, khaki shorts and boots and confirmed the blood on them belonged to Parlato. She also analyzed DNA samples taken from Sexton's hands, cuticles and fingernails, and found traces of Parlato's DNA, she testified.

Defense attorney Dustin Anderson argued that DNA samples are subject to deterioration. "Testing can't determine how the DNA got there, correct?" he added. "And it can't determine when it got there, correct?" Thomas said yes.

Anderson also noted that none of Sexton's DNA was found on the knives at the scene, and none of Sexton's DNA was found under Parlato's fingernails.

Sexton's wife, Catherine, testified that she saw her husband around 7 p.m. on the night of the murder while he was mowing a lawn. He had beer in the truck and had been drinking, she said, so they argued. She asked him to come home then, but he did not.

"About five to 2 (a.m.) he came home," said Catherine, who locked the top lock on the door, forcing her husband to knock so she could let him in. "He didn't sleep in the bedroom that night."

Anderson asked if it was normal for Sexton to sit on the porch for awhile before coming into the house. Catherine said yes.

Jurors hear from man accused in murder of Pasco woman, 94 04/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 9:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Assault charge may not sway voters in Montana election (w/video)


    BOZEMAN, Mont. — Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground.

    People fill out ballots for the special election to fill Montana's only U.S. House seat at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark on Thursday in Billings, Mont. [Associated Press]
  4. Quiet college dropout turned bomber: Who was Salman Abedi?


    LONDON — He was quiet and withdrawn, a college dropout who liked soccer — and, some say, showed alarming signs of being radicalized years before he walked into a pop concert at Britain's Manchester Arena and detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and 22 others.

    Salman Abedi was identified by British authorities as the man behind Monday’s attack.
  5. Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city


    MARAWI, Philippines — Backed by tanks and rocket-firing helicopters, Philippine troops launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear extremists linked to the Islamic State group from a city that has been under siege since a raid that failed to capture one of Asia's most-wanted militants.

    Soldiers fire at enemy positions Thursday while trying to clear the city of Marawi, Philippines, of armed militants.