Calling her cousin Taylor Brandenburg a “beautiful soul,” Jennifer Hickman said the second of three defendants sentenced to life in prison for Brandenburg’s death deserves “every day” she earned in prison.
Kara Parisi-King, who turns 28 in 10 days, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years to life for her role in the March 12, 2017 killing of Brandenburg, 20, who was babysitting in a Huffman Avenue home in Dayton.
Parisi-King said she was truly sorry and that she accepts full responsibility for her actions.
“There are no words strong enough to express how regretful I am for taking part in the awful night which led up to Taylor’s death,” Parisi-King said to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Gregory Singer. “Somehow, saying I’m sorry for robbing you and your family of Taylor’s life seems to small of a gesture.”
A victim’s advocate read a letter from Brandenburg’s father and stepmother. In it, her stepmother wrote that Brandenburg was “an innocent girl who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Parisi-King, who gave birth to co-defendant Chuckie Lee’s child last summer, was sentenced for complicity to commit murder. She earned 375 days of jail-time credit. Lee is scheduled to go on trial in June.
Hickman said her daughter has the same personality as Brandenburg.
“It’s so heartbreaking reflecting through memories, pictures and videos of Tay’s relationships with her baby cousins because I knew she always wanted children of her own, Hickman said. “She would have been an amazing mother.”
Evans Cassell, 36, pleaded guilty to the same charge as well as a firearms count and was sentenced in November to 15 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors said Parisi-King, Lee, 39, and Cassell got into an altercation on March 12, 2017 with some bar patrons inside the Glass Hat Bar on Linden Avenue in Dayton.
The argument moved to outside and then a half-mile away to 77 Huffman Ave., where police said the men shot at but missed the bar patrons, fatally striking Brandenburg multiple times.
Hickman said the gunfire came rapidly and that it was “sudden, violent and incomprehensible.”
Police said Parisi-King helped provide Lee, her then boyfriend, with a semi-automatic pistol and transported him to the Huffman Avenue address.
Brandenburg has been called “an innocent victim” by police who said she had no involvement in the dispute but came outside to check on a disturbance when she was fatally shot.
“On that horrific night, I was traumatized beyond my own recognition,” said Hickman, adding that she ducked under her steering wheel, drove away and then drove back to find out that her cousin had died. “A nightmare that seemed like a lifetime occurred within minutes and without warning. … What started out as a good night of family enjoying each other’s company turned into chaos.”
In February, the trial of Lee, who is accused of shooting and killing Brandenburg, was delayed. The trial was pushed back for Lee’s second attorney to step down as counsel to the defendant.
Singer granted the motion filed by the attorney, Brad Baldwin, who said he was having communications issues with Lee.