Impact of Murder heads north of the border to investigate the 1991 murder of Catherine Carroll in Newfoundland, Canada, who was brutally stabbed to death on new year’s day.
Her son, Greg Parsons, was wrongfully convicted and sent to prison for the crime. However, years later, DNA evidence would clear his name. When the case was reopened, investigators discovered that the true murderer was Parsons’s childhood friend, Brian Doyle.
On New Years Day in 1991, Greg Parsons went to his mother’s home to find 45-year-old Catherine Carroll lying dead on her bathroom floor. She had been stabbed and slashed 53 times.
The killer had been Parsons’s childhood friend, Brian Doyle, who had broken into Catherine’s home through a basement window before he attacked her.
However, the police focused their attention on Parsons and declared him their number one suspect. There were no eyewitnesses and no physical evidence tying Parsons to the crime, but that didn’t stop the police from doing what they could to pin the crime on the young man.
At Parsons’s trial in 1994, prosecutors argued that Catherine had feared her son, and pointed to his participation in a song recording titled Kill Your Parents. A jury found him guilty of murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
His name was cleared in 1998 when DNA evidence was produced, which proved he couldn’t have been the killer. He was released with an apology from the provisional government, and later, he received $650,000 compensation.
Police tunnel vision caused Greg Parsons wrongful conviction
An inquiry was launched into how the miscarriage of justice had occurred, which exposed deep problems within the Newfoundland and Labrador justice system. It was ruled that shoddy police work coupled with tunnel vision, had led to a false conviction.
The investigation’s focus then turned to Doyle, who eventually confessed to murder during a police sting operation. Doyle admitted to investigators that in 1991 he had gone to Catherine’s house after a new year’s party, broken into her home, and crawled naked into her bed.
He claimed that the pair had been in a relationship but that she had said she wanted it to end. This caused an argument which resulted in Catherine’s violent death.
Doyle then remained silent as the police sent Parsons to prison.
In 2003, Parsons’s former friend, Doyle, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years.
Parsons has done his best to move on with his life; he became a father and a firefighter with the St. John’s regional fire department. He has become an advocate for victims’ rights and has said he will do what he can to keep Doyle in prison as the murderer’s parole hearing approaches.
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Impact of Murder airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.