Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
Christopher Sharrow of Pittsford stands alongside his public defender Mary Kay Lanthier during his arraignment in Rutland criminal court Monday.
RUTLAND — A Pittsford man charged with beating and strangling his girlfriend to death Friday morning pleaded innocent to a second-degree murder charge Monday and was returned to jail on $750,000 bail.
Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and shackles, 35-year-old Christopher Sharrow shuffled into a Rutland criminal courtroom filled with family and friends of Kristen Parker, 32, the woman he is accused of killed.
“I don’t want to see him,” said one of Parker’s family members as Sharrow was led into the room.
Sharrow didn’t speak during his arraignment — entering his innocent plea through public defender Mary Kay Lanthier who also told the judge she wouldn’t object to the prosecution’s $750,000 bail request although she reserved the right to argue against it at a later date. He remained behind bars in the Rutland jail Monday night.
During the courtroom proceedings, Sharrow stared straight ahead, acknowledging neither Parker’s family nor members of his own family who were seated behind him.
The only arguments made in court involved Sharrow’s ability to have contact with his mother who Deputy Rutland County State’s Attorney Kevin Klamm said is considered a witness for the prosecution in the case.
“She is identified as a witness who provided information to state police,” said Klamm who argued against any contact between Sharrow and his mother.
Judge Theresa DiMauro said she would allow telephone contact between mother and son because those calls would be recorded while Sharrow is incarcerated.
After the hearing, Parker’s brother Daniel Parker, said Sharrow should have stayed in jail with no bail. He added that he could not believe the argument by Sharrow’s attorney to allow him to have contact with his mother.
“We want contact with our sister and can’t have that,” he said. “He is asking about talking with his mother.”
He went on to say that by the number of people who were in court to support his family, “she was well loved.”
A Vermont State Police affidavit describing the killing was full of brutal and disturbing descriptions.
Detective Sgt. Helaine Gaiotti wrote that police were called to 2503 West Creek Road in Pittsford at about 2:30 a.m. Friday by neighbors who could hear the sound of fighting and screaming children coming from the apartment where Sharrow, Parker and three children between the ages of 1 and 7 lived. Police say Sharrow was the father of the two younger children while Parker’s 7-year-old daughter was born from a previous relationship.
One neighbor, Michelle Wilson, said she was awakened by a “huge thud” next door followed by children’s cries for their mother, according to the affidavit.
Wilson said she then heard a voice she recognized as Sharrow’s telling the children, “Your mommy is sleeping baby girl. Your mommy is sleeping. Come downstairs and lay on the couch.”
Gaiotti wrote that when police arrived at the apartment they looked through a window and could see a body on the floor and a man standing over the body with his shorts pulled down.
After unsuccessfully trying to enter the residence, a trooper looked into the apartment again and saw the man lying on top of the body on the floor, Gaiotti wrote.
When troopers managed forced their way through the front door, they found Parker dead on the kitchen floor — her face and head severely beaten. Sharrow was found in the basement smoking a cigarette, Gaiotti wrote. During his arrest, the only statement Sharrow made to police was that he “did not do anything,” according to the affidavit.
The children were found unharmed although the oldest told police that she witnessed Sharrow assault her mother.
An autopsy indicated that Parker’s injuries included substantial blunt force trauma to the head as well as severe strangulation — either of which were sufficient to cause death, according to the state Medical Examiner’s Office.
Sharrow criminal history doesn’t include violent offenses, however in 2001, at the age of 24, he was convicted of felony lewd and lascivious conduct for exposing himself to a woman in 1998. Following that conviction, in which he received a one- to five-year deferred sentence, Sharrow violated his probation three times, according to court records, including a violation in 2004 when he was brought back to court for getting kicked out of a sexual offender treatment program.
Daniel Parker said his family was very surprised to hear about Sharrow’s criminal records — specifically the lewd and lascivious conviction.
“We were wondering how he was around Kristen and the kids,” he said.
Asked why Sharrow’s name, picture and residency isn’t listed on the state’s sex offender website, Klamm said that in 2004, lewd and lascivious conduct was not among the crimes that required offenders to be listed on the public site.
Outside the courthouse Monday afternoon, Parker’s family members made a public appeal to help her children.
“The biggest victims have been her three kids,” her brother David Parker said. “There’s been an overwhelming outpouring of support for the kids.”
He said the family is working to establish a foundation to help support Parker’s children.
“It’s a 17-year job making sure her angels grow up to be productive citizens,” he said.
Contributions can be made out to “Kristen’s Angels,” Parker said, and sent to 24 East St., Proctor, VT 05765.
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