Sept. 30, 2013

Death noted: District Attorney Frank Parrish, 64, who succeeded H. P. Williams Jr. in prosecuting the Edenton Seven.

By the time Parrish took office in 1994, Little Rascals had become almost entirely a Nancy Lamb production. Whatever Parrish actually believed, the prosecutors’ code demanded that he continue to insist that the case was concrete-solid.

But as a growing body of scientific evidence called into question the testimony of child witnesses in ritual-abuse cases, Parrish had to decide how to respond to the overturning of the convictions of Bob Kelly and Dawn Wilson. “I’ve gotten an awful lot of guidance, none of it solicited,” he told the Charlotte Observer. “(Research) does not play a part, nor should it. That’s as if because there’s research about the unreliability of eyewitnesses, I should dismiss or not retry an armed robber.”

By 1997 Parrish and Lamb could no longer delay dropping the last Little Rascals charges. And who now might succeed Parrish as district attorney? Unfortunately, you won’t be surprised.