James Parsons wants out

After two decades in prison Norwalk man convicted in brutal wrench-beating death of wife seeks parole.
May 16, 2013


Special to the Register

Feb. 11, 1981, is a date Jim Parsons isn’t likely to forget.

It is the day his wife, Barbara, 41, was found bludgeoned to death in the bedroom of their Norwalk home. It is also the day Parsons became the prime suspect in her murder.

But there is another day Parsons will remember: Aug, 19, 1993, the day he was convicted of his wife’s murder and sent to prison. 

Parsons, now 75, is inmate No. 280942 at the Richland Correctional Institution. He has spent the last 20 years behind bars.

This may change Friday morning when he appears before a review board in Mansfield in hopes of gaining his freedom. He tried before, in January 2011, but he was denied parole. Huron County prosecutor Russell Leffler said his office does not plan to attend the hearing. 

“He’s old and his health isn’t too great,” Leffler said. “He could very well get out. I don’t know if there’s anyone who will object.” 

Former Norwalk Detective Greg Mehling, now with the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, filed an objection the last time Parsons’ case came up.

Leffler said the review board’s decision could come Friday or at a later date. The case could also be sent to the full parole board for further consideration.

Whether Parsons is freed or returned to prison, few in Norwalk at the time of the murder will forget the case.

Barbara’s body was discovered at the foot of her bed in the family’s Sycamore Hills home by her daughter, Sherry. It was a grisly scene — the bed, floor and walls were drenched in blood, and Barbara’s skull had been bashed in. A coroner later determined Barbara had been struck at least 15 times in the head with a heavy object.

Suspicion immediately fell on her husband. The couple had been fighting of late, and there was talk of divorce. Plus, Jim Parsons had admitted to several affairs.

Even so, there was no proof. Parsons said he was at his auto shop and later inside a downtown coffee shop at the time of the slaying, and no one could prove otherwise. A murder weapon was never found, and forensics turned up little of value. 

Parsons continued to live as a free man, although many in the town shunned him, including former Norwalk Mayor Wayne Goodsite, who often complained Parsons got away with murder.

The clue that ultimately led to Parsons’ arrest came from a mechanic at his auto shop. The man told police he recalled Parsons mentioning something about his tool set missing a breaker bar — a long socket wrench used to break nuts and bolts off machinery. Parsons told them he must have left it in a car he sold to a friend.

Police traced the car to Arizona and found the breaker bar in the trunk. An analysis turned up no signs of blood or other material connecting it to the crime.

The tool sat in the evidence room until 1990, when a new detective assigned to the case, Norwalk Police Sgt. Mike White, noticed a match between markings on the bloody sheets and the breaker bar. A closer examination indicated the same — the stamp of the bar’s manufacturer, Sears & Roebuck, was visible on the sheets after forensic enhancement.

A little more than 12 years later, a grand jury indicted Parsons on charges related to his wife’s death. A Huron County Common Pleas Court jury deliberated more than four hours before deciding Parsons had indeed killed her.

To this day, he maintains his innocence. His friends say he was framed. Leffler says there is no doubt he did it.

After Friday’s hearing, the review board will decide if Parsons should go free or remain in prison, the place he has called home for the last 20 years.



I don't care if he is 100 years old. Keep him in there.


SOMETIMES I just do not understand how the law works... you have this guy that NO one wants set free after 20 plus years.........he is guilty...then you have that dude in Monroeville (cant remember his name) that stabbed to death his foster daughter........he got 3 flipping years for that...and is free.........it baffles me to no end..as soon as i can remember the dudes name from monroeville i will repost it...


Paul Efaw


The Paul Efaw trial is an unbelievable miscarriage of justice.
This article says she " fell on the knife"


And this article says he "...repeatedly stabbed..."

Paul Efaw made the same plea of " being too old" ( I think he was 57 at the time).


Mum-of-One... THANK YOU... THATS his name!

2cents's picture

Well if they do not like it they can do something about it and just check themselves out. After all their lives basically ended when they did their deed! A towel and a stool, see you later!


"To this day, he maintains his innocence."

That's what ALL sociopaths and psychopaths say.

IMO: Way past time to offshore our penal system to China and save a few taxpayer bucks. :)


Contago.......yep... look at Jodi Arieus...she swore NO jurt would or could convict her... she got "pre-meditated 1st degree murder... cant wait to see if she gets life or death


Can't remember the story, but wonder in this day and age, after spending 20 years in prison and getting used to the routine, why would you want to get out? He gets free food, free health care, etc. Oh yea, he can get that if he's out of prison too.


Like your writing! Still you can do some things to improve it.
Lipozene Reviews




I am so impressed w/evernote so far. really pro stuff. thx folks

Fibber Mcgee

Hey Bob, good to see you writing stories. You covered this one I think.

maverick12's picture

Getting old and his health is failing....at least he got that chance.
He deserves nothing more.


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He used to run a car repair shop in Norwalk. He was a crook. The NPD used his garage for repairs and started marking parts on their vehicle that were suppose to be replaced. Come to find out he just cleaned the old part, re-installed it and charged he city for replacing it.


Sounds like that kid - think his name was Young or something like that that killed his parents and said that it was self defense. That's the defense that always gets to me - yeah I did it in self defense, over and over and over again!!!! Think he tried to get parole too. I don't think this guy should see the outside of his cell for a minute!!! He didn't give his wife a second chance at life so why should he be given a second chance at it. Who cares if he is getting old and has failing health - aren't we all? Except for those who might happen to be on disability or SS and even we (and I'm including myself in that since I'm on disability) have to pay for that out of our monthly check and had to work our butts off for those checks at one time in our lives, no one is getting free medical, free food or free lodging. We're even paying for his care thru our taxes!!


Wow mum of 1 - you've heard stories about him too?


It's like Baretta (Robert Blake) used to say. "Don't do the crime; if you can't do the time."


Yeah and look at what his old ugly arse got away with!


LOL! So true!


Now and then I’ll stumble across a post like this and I’ll recall that there really are still interesting pages on the web. ^_^. Thanks. Lipozene


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