Jury convicts Parker in Good Samaritan murder

Monday, May 04, 2015

A Hennepin County District Court jury convicted Devon Parker of intentional second-degree murder for shooting the Good Samaritan homeowner who let him in when Parker claimed people were trying to hurt him, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

The jury deliberated Friday and reached its verdict shortly after noon Monday against the 22-year-old Minneapolis man. The jury also found the aggravating circumstances of having committed the crime in the victim’s home. That will allow the county attorney’s office to seek a longer prison term at his June 4 sentencing.

Trial testimony showed that on Jan. 31, 2014, police dispatch received a 911 call from the victim, 69-year-old Thomas Sonnenberg, about 11:46 a.m. During the conversation, with Parker near him, Sonnenberg said that Parker had knocked on his back door and said people were chasing him with a baseball bat. Sonnenberg had let him into his house at 3739 Aldrich Ave. N. and locked the door.

However, in the minutes it took for a Minneapolis police officer to reach the house, Parker had taken Sonnenberg’s handgun and shot him in the head. He surrendered when the officer arrived.

“We are pleased the jury found Mr. Parker guilty of the murder of a man who tried to help him,” Freeman said. “All citizens should feel safe in their homes and that was not the case for Thomas Sonnenberg. As a result, we will be asking the judge for a greater sentence than the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines normally set forth.”

The jury acquitted Parker of unintentional second-degree murder and two counts of criminal sexual conduct.