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Former WCI inmate

convicted in ’04 murder

The Daily News
BOGALUSA – Nathaniel Parish, a former Washington Correctional Institute inmate was found guilty Wednesday of second degree murder for the beating death of a fellow inmate on Sept. 28, 2004. Sentencing has been set for June 14.

The jury took about two hours, after a two-day trial, to come back with the verdict, said assistant district attorney Lewis Murray, who presented the state’s case.

Parish, 30, was charged in early October 2004, days after Gary Olson, 47, was found unconscious in his dormitory bed. The victim was transported to Bogalusa Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

At the time, then-Washington Parish Coroner Roger Casama said an autopsy report showed Olson had suffered traumatic injuries to his head and upper body, including multiple rib fractures, and was bleeding in his brain. He was unresponsive and in cardiac arrest when he was admitted to the hospital, and soon “flat-lined,” Casama said.

This week, testimony showed that Olson went to his bunk in the back of the dormitory after the final roll call at about 10 p.m. and Parish followed him, hitting him several times in rapid succession, walked a short distance away, then returned and repeated his actions. Other inmates who went to check on Olson reportedly found him turning blue and alerted security.

Murray said the head injury was determined to be the cause of death.

Parish was serving time at WCI for multiple charges including armed robbery, possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, but had been transferred to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola to await trial. Since the guilty verdict for second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life in prison, Parish is expected to be permanently returned to Angola.

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