Man who set wife on fire is released

April 27, 1995|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 73-year-old Lothian man convicted of setting his wife on fire in 1985 was released from Crownsville Hospital Center yesterday by an Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge.

Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. granted Marcell Parker a conditional release that will allow him to continue living at Omni House, a halfway house in Glen Burnie.

Parker, who has been at Omni House for six months, was convicted of assault with intent to maim but found not criminally responsible by Judge Thieme after a trial on Sept. 30, 1985.

Parker, a retired construction worker, threw a container of flammable liquid onto his wife, Anna Marie Parker, and set her on fire in a bedroom of the family home in the 5000 block of Solomons Island Road in Lothian about 6:30 p.m. April 14, 1985, according to court records.

Detective Charles Schreiber of the county police said in charging documents that the 60-year-old woman was watching television with her daughter, Beverly Ann Parker, at the time. Mrs. Parker suffered second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of her body and required extensive treatment over the ensuing year, according to court records.

Mrs. Parker said in a brief interview yesterday that she was stunned that her husband was being released. She also complained that neither she nor the couple's seven children were informed of the Dec. 8, 1994, recommendation by a Crownsville psychiatrist that he be released.

Michael Golden, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said victims of crimes have a right to be notified of the release of a state hospital patient if they make a request to be notified. It was unclear last night whether the family had made such a request.

Parker has been staying at Omni House for six months, said Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.

The judge's order says Parker may remain at the halfway house as long as he stays off alcohol and drugs, submits to periodic urinalysis, takes his medication and attends any counseling recommended by state health department therapists.

Judge Thieme signed the release order yesterday after reviewing a recommendation for Parker's release by his psychiatrist, Dr. Kevin Laser, and after representatives of Omni House assured the judge that they would provide 24-hour-a-day supervision.

Dr. Laser wrote that his patient of the past three years is no longer a danger to himself or others and that his dementia and "low grade paranoia" can be controlled by a prescription medication for such disorders.

"Mr. Marcell Parker is extremely pleasant and cooperative and has a distinguished, very calm appearance about him and is very polite," Dr. Laser wrote in his recommendation for a conditional release.

Mr. Weathersbee said he did not object to the release, given Omni House's assurances of constant supervision. But he said he is concerned that Parker could still be a danger if he stops taking his medication, uses alcohol or walks away from the halfway house.

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