By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
A Clovis man on Monday pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Byron Logan, 25, was accused in the 2004 slaying of Tony Parker, a 31-year-old father of two. Logan’s guilty plea came just minutes before his jury trial was to start.
Second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The additional charge of a felon in possession of a firearm added one year to Logan’s sentence.
“We were somewhat surprised that the defendant changed his plea minutes before the jury was selected, but any time a defendant is convicted for what (he or she) is charged with and sentenced to the maximum, it’s a good situation for our community,” said District Attorney Matt Chandler.
Mary Parker, the victim’s sister, said she did not agree with the sentence, even though she recognized the court gave the maximum allowed by New Mexico law for second-degree murder.
“I feel like they should have stronger laws — (16) years is not enough for him to take an innocent person’s life,” she said. “Some people get 20 to 30 years for dope.
“(Byron Logan) changed my life — Tony was a father raising two kids. (Logan) didn’t show any remorse. … You could tell he didn’t care,” she said.
Chandler termed the day “bittersweet” for Parker’s family.
“Lawmakers have to do something soon to strengthen the penalties for murder (in New Mexico) — 15 years is not going to bring justice to any loved one of a murder victim,” he said.
Police said Parker was shot four times following a verbal altercation with Logan at the Clovis Apartments in the early-morning hours of Aug. 21, 2004. Parker died at the scene, prosecutors said, and Logan was arrested on Sept. 10, 2004.
Logan will be transported to the New Mexico Department of Corrections within the week to begin serving his sentence, prosecutors said.