Court Tosses Life Term For NC Man In Fright Death

An appeals court has vacated a North Carolina man's conviction and life sentence for scaring a woman to death.

However, Larry Whitfield of Charlotte will remain in prison for other offenses.

Whitfield was convicted of trying to rob a bank, then invading the home of a 79-year-old Gastonia woman who died of a heart attack while he hid from police. Authorities said Mary Parnell was frightened to death.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said Wednesday that a judge erroneously told jurors they could convict Whitfield of actions resulting in Parnell's death. That specific offense was not charged in the indictment.

Whitfield was sentenced to 25 years for other convictions that were affirmed. He also faces resentencing for forcing Parnell into the room where she died.

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