On November 27, 1998, which was Black Friday, 25-year-old college student Corey Parker didn’t show up for her morning shift at Ragtime Tavern. A cook went to check on Corey, but she hadn’t answered her door and her blinds were closed. There was a small opening in the blinds where he could see her foot.
What happened to Corey Parker?
Police found Corey in bed in a horrific scene. Corey had fought for her life in a brutal attack where she was stabbed 101 times. She was in bed at the time she was attacked.
Who killed Corey Parker?
There were handprints in the blood that looked like someone lowered themselves out of the window. There was reportedly a creepy stalker in the neighborhood, but detectives thought the killer knew Corey personally because of the overkill.
Corey’s boyfriend had plane tickets that proved he had been out of town when she was killed. They looked to several leads, including a coworker named Eric Ely who had a crush on Corey. He had reportedly asked Corey to have Thanksgiving dinner with him alone. He had made the dinner before inviting her over, which was a bit creepy.
Eric admitted that he had been obsessed with Corey, and even had violent rape fantasies about her. He went on to say that he thought Corey had been killed and considered that she had been stabbed. When detectives asked him how he knew that Corey had been stabbed, Eric said he probably had the same thoughts as her killer. Still, he was adamant about the fact that he didn’t kill her and detectives couldn’t find any physical evidence against him.
Corey had another person that may have been infatuated with her: her friend Tiffany Zienta who had been drinking with Corey the night of her death. Police found some of Tiffany’s statements about that night were inconsistent, like a phone call Tiffany said she made to Corey that didn’t turn up on the phone records. Some of her friends said Tiffany was infatuated with Corey and had even described Tiffany’s murder as if she had been there.
Five months after Corey’s murder detectives were still looking for Corey’s murderer and wanted to speak to Tiffany again. Tiffany, however, had left town and had hired a lawyer. Tiffany insisted that she did call Corey that night and that she did not have any romantic feelings toward her. She says she hired a lawyer because she was scared, not because she was guilty.
Robert Denney was yet another suspect who had been obsessed with the young waitress. He became a potential suspect for Corey’s murder thanks to Fugitive Specialist William Rentzler. He started independently investigating the case. While talking to neighbors he learned about Robert Denney, who had lived nearby. He had only been 17 years old when Corey was murdered, and had disappeared soon afterwards.
After Corey’s murder, Robert told friends that he had to go to Texas because his child had been killed. That, of course, was a lie.
Robert had been able to watch Corey in her kitchen from his “rear window.” His own sister called Robert a “night creeper” because he would creep around the house at night.
Two years after Corey’s death, authorities found Robert in Maryland. They got Robert to come in for questioning where they tried to collect his DNA from a cigarette and a bottle of water. Although Robert smoked the cigarette, he put the butt behind his ear. He refused to open the water bottle. They also offered him some forms with envelopes to seal. He signed the documents, but refused to seal the envelopes. Robert let them know that he knew they were trying to collect his DNA.
Detectives stalked Robert at his job, where he continued to save his cigarette butts. One day, however, detectives saw him spitting on the ground. There was enough spit to collect Robert’s DNA.
Police soon learned that Robert Denney’s brother had been convicted for stabbing a woman 96 times in El Paso, Texas. Of course, that’s not proof that Robert killed Corey. The DNA test results came back positive for blood and hair found at Corey’s apartment.
They wanted to make sure that Robert would deny that he had ever been in Corey’s apartment so he couldn’t argue that he had gone in her apartment before, which could explain losing a hair, or even a drop of blood. A detective wearing a wire told Robert that they had caught the man who killed Corey, and were able to get him to claim he had never been in Corey’s apartment.
Robert maintains that he is innocent of Corey’s murder and believes that the DNA evidence got mixed up and that the police have framed him. He was convicted of first-degree murder and is currently serving a life sentence.