By Kyle Meenan & First Coast News Staff
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The man convicted of killing a Jacksonville Beach waitress six years ago has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Robert Denney was in court Monday morning. A jury had found him guilty of killing 25-year-old Ragtime restaurant worker Corey Parker in her apartment in 1998. Parker was stabbed 101 times.
Police arrested Denney in November 2000, based on a match between his DNA and a genetic profile found on a small hair uncovered in the dead woman's apartment.
Later, Florida Department of Law Enforcement examiners matched his DNA to a smear of blood from Parker's kitchen. But police said Friday that they sent DNA or fingerprint samples from 38 other people to FBI or FDLE labs before arresting Denney. Denney was the slain woman's neighbor.
Judge Peter Dearing pronounced the sentence Monday morning.
"It is the judgement and the sentence of the court to have you committed to the department of corrections for the balance of your natural life with no possibility of parole."
Processing the DNA evidence was both time consuming, and expensive.
"Each strand of hair costs close to $2,000 and there were numerous strands of hairs tested but that doesn't even count all the other stuff that was done," said Assistant State Attorney Angela Corey.
The Denney camp will appeal both today's sentencing, and the verdict itself.
"The state obviously wanted to pursue the death penalty because we still believe that would have been the appropriate penalty for Robert Denney and for what he did to Corey Parker," said Corey.
"We were precluded by law from seeking the death penalty, so life with no parole is as appropriate as we could have hoped for."
Assistant State Attorney Angela Corey said the Denney case may have been one of the most expensive trials in Duval County history, with the pricetag still being totaled.
"I hope that what it shows to the public is that even though we are using your tax dollars, we are using them wisely. We will fight for our victims no matter what and we will always fight for our victims."
First Coast News