CROWN POINT | Citing Daniel Hicks as the admitted shooter in the slaying of his stepfather, Merrillville businessman John Parker Jr., Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez today handed Hicks a sentence of 23 years in state prison.
Hicks, now 22, was 15 years old at the time of the shooting. He partnered with his mother, Judy Parker, and his sister, Christina Hicks-Grabski, in the conspiracy to murder Parker.
Judy Parker, 39, was sentenced last month to 33 years in prison for her role in the slaying. Hicks-Grabski, 23, faces a possible eight-year sentence for assisting a criminal when she is sentenced Oct. 9.
Authorities contend Judy Parker wanted out of her marriage so badly she discussed various schemes to kill her husband with her two teenage children, one of whom she gave money to hire a killer. When that failed, Parker gave the teens money to buy a pistol and followed up by buying dark clothes and a mask, which Hicks wore while shooting his stepfather in the back of the head.
At the time the conspiracy began, the family, which included two younger daughters, lived together in the upscale Ellendale Farms subdivision in Crown Point. The couple had met while selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.
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According to authorities, the conspiracy against John Parker began in June 2002, ending with his murder outside his Merrillville business on April 17, 2003.
Addressing the court today, Hicks expressed his remorse for the killing but also asked the court to consider his family situation and his age at the time of the killing.
Defense counsel Richard Wolter had argued Hicks had been under substantial domination by his mother, who claimed to have been physically abused by John Parker, and concerned about the safety of his sisters.
But in handing down the sentence, Vasquez said he could not understand how Hicks could have been manipulated into shooting his stepfather in the back of his head.