Woman who escaped custody gets 13-month jail term

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on June 22, 2013
Kimberley Ann Parkinson was sentenced to 13 months in jail on Friday.
— File photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A St. John's woman who gave sheriff's officers the slip last month while being escorted to jail won't get another taste of freedom any time soon.

In provincial court in St. John's Friday afternoon, Kimberly Ann Parkinson was sentenced to just over 13 months in jail, with two years' probation.

She was given 80 days (1 1/2 times) credit for the time she's already spent behind bars, leaving 10 months and 20 days left on her prison term.

She pleaded guilty to escaping lawful custody, along with four counts of theft under $5,000, seven counts of breaching court orders, including some for probation, and single counts of failing to attend court and failing to report to a probation officer.

"The shoplifting was to support my (drug) habit," Parkinson told Judge Lori Marshall when given the chance to speak before sentencing.

"But I know there's no excuse."

The charges stem from seven separate incidents.

The most serious incident happened May 6 - her 39th birthday.

At around 5:15 p.m., Parkinson took off from sheriff's officers outside the St. John's Lockup on Water Street as she and seven other prisoners were being transported from provincial court.

When the sheriffs officers' van pulled up to the lockup door and the prisoners were getting out, a female prisoner tripped and fell to the ground, distracting the two officers escorting the group. That's when Parkinson made a run for it.

As with most prisoners, Parkinson was wearing a restraint called a D-ring, which handcuffs the prisoners' wrists to a chained belt and includes a leg restraint to prevent the prisoners from running. But Parkinson had not been wearing the leg restraint because she had been complaining about a leg injury.

The officers noticed she was gone when they did a head count inside the lockup.

She was picked up the next day after her picture was released to the media.

The theft happened July 17, 2012, at S'Pairs Optical on LeMarchant Road, where she swiped four pairs of Ray Ban sunglasses; Jan. 7 of this year, when she walked off with an entire display case containing $2,000 worth of jewelry from Unique Designs kiosk in the Avalon Mall; March 5 at Sobeys at Ropewalk Lane, where she took two frozen pizzas; and May 2 at Sears in the Avalon Mall, where she swiped a bottle of perfume and three pairs of sneakers, valued at $481.97.

She failed to report to her probation officer in July 2012 and failed to attend court on Feb. 6 of this year.

The convictions were added to Parkinson's already lengthy criminal record.

In all, she has 13 prior convictions for theft and seven for breaching probation.

Crown prosecutor Dana Sullivan recommended the judge give Parkinson a sentence of between 14 and 18 months.

Sullivan pointed out that Parkinson's record continues to grow and for every offence, she breaches a court order.

She noted the high dollar value of the thefts - particularly the theft at the jewelry store, in which the jewelry was not recovered.

Defence lawyer Scott Hurley said a sentence of eight to 10 months was more appropriate.

He said Parkinson - a mother of a 14-year-old son - has struggled with addictions to opiates and cocaine. However, she's taken steps to get help by participating in programs while in custody. He said she wants to continue her education and plans to enroll in a computer course.

"She really wants to get out and get sober, " he said.

"She understands the severity of the charge and wants to move on and improve her life."

Marshall told Parkinson that judging by her past, her stealing has only stopped while she was in custody.

"So, there's no indication you made any attempts to curb your (criminal) activity," the judge said.

Marshall also said escaping from sheriff's officer shows little respect for authority.

However, Marshall acknowledged the steps Parkinson was taking to get help for her problems.

"You need a support system to get your life back on track and keep it on track," Marshall said.

As part of her sentence, Parkinson must submit a DNA sample and participate in programs for substance abuse recommended by her probation officer.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com Twitter: @TelyCourt