Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Slaying Victim Struggled with Attacker She May Have Torn Hair Used for Evidence

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Slaying Victim Struggled with Attacker She May Have Torn Hair Used for Evidence

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer

Corey Parker fought with all she had against her knife-wielding attacker and may have torn hair from his head that's being used to prosecute the man accused of killing her.

Parker, a 25-year-old waitress from The Ragtime Tavern, died from the attack in her Jacksonville Beach apartment on Nov. 26, 1998. DNA experts are testing saliva taken from Robert Erik Denney, the man charged in her death, to confirm it matches hair, scalp tissue and blood found in Parker's apartment.

An autopsy report showed Parker struggled hard during the attack, cutting and bruising her hands as she tried to wrest the knife -- most likely a pocketknife -- from her attacker. Hair was "forcibly removed" from the attacker's head, the report says. Investigators think Parker pulled it out during the struggle.

Denney faces a first-degree murder trial in July. Detectives built a case against him by scraping his spit off a parking lot outside where he worked in Maryland, according to State Attorney's Office records. Initial DNA tests on Denney's saliva matched the evidence at Parker's apartment, but prosecutors have asked for additional tests to cement their case.

Parker was not known to look for trouble, but as a happy, carefree person who made friends easily.

"She was vivacious and full of life," said Raegan Kendrew, a co-worker at the restaurant in Atlantic Beach. "She was so easy to like. She was a lot of fun. It's still hard to believe she's gone."

Parker was almost 6 feet tall, thin and nimble. When business slowed at the restaurant, she liked to amuse her co-workers by rolling her stomach and doing contortionist-style tricks like stepping through her hands, Kendrew said.

She drove a red Honda Civic, smoked Marlboros and liked to wear hoop earrings and platform shoes. She had two cats, then took on a third, a neighbor's cat that kept slipping into her apartment through the floor space. …

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