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Parks enters Alford plea in DUI-related manslaughter

A Gloucester woman entered an Alford plea of guilty to DUI-related involuntary manslaughter Friday in connection with the Oct. 11, 2013 death of 29-year-old Richard Gibson III. Melissa Ann Parks, 28, was the driver in a single-vehicle accident in which Gibson died.

The Alford plea was entered on behalf of Parks by her defense attorney, Amy P. VanFossen, in Gloucester Circuit Court. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit the act but admits the prosecution could likely prove the charge.

Visiting Judge James A. Cales Jr. of Portsmouth accepted the plea and found Parks guilty, and Parks answered “no” when Cales asked if there was anything she wanted to say.

Cales set Parks’s sentencing for Jan. 27. He also nolle prossed misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and driving with a revoked license that were pending against Parks.

In summarizing her evidence, Gloucester Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Smith said the man who first came upon the fatal...

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