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John Warren PARSONS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Escape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 21, 2005
Date of arrest: October 19, 2006
Date of birth: February 11, 1961
Victim profile: Larry R. Cox (Chillicothe Police Officer)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Ross County, Ohio, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on December 8, 2006

photo gallery


John W. Parsons is a convicted criminal from Chillicothe, Ohio. Prior to his capture on October 19, 2006, he was an FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive wanted for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, escape, aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, weapons under disability, tampering with evidence, and grand theft.


Parsons was facing capital charges for the April 21, 2005 murder of Chillicothe Police Officer Larry R. Cox following a gas station robbery.

On the evening of April 21, 2005, Chillicothe Police responded to a report of a stolen car being taken from a restaurant. Just 15 minutes later, a disguised armed man robbed the BP Gas Station. The getaway car used in the robbery matched the description of the vehicle stolen earlier. After being chased by a Chillicothe police officer, the suspect bailed out of the car and took off running.

At around 10 pm, as he walked from his parent's house to his own, off-duty officer Larry Cox also took up the foot chase, and confronted the robber in an alley way near Chestnut and North High Streets. Cox was shot and killed in the alley. The following clues led investigators to John Parsons, whom police arrested May 1, 2005 and charged with the killing.


Parsons escaped from the Ross County jail on Saturday July 29, 2006. He asked his mother for help escaping, but she was arrested before plans could be made. Parsons made a rope from bedsheets and toilet paper, which he hid behind a brick in the wall of his room. He used toothpaste to disguise the broken mortar around the loose brick.

As a fugitive, he was twice featured on the Fox Network television show America's Most Wanted. He appeared for a third time on that program on September 30, 2006, when he became the 484th fugitive to be placed on the Ten Most Wanted list. After his escape there were numerous reported sightings of Parsons in heavily wooded areas near Chillicothe.


Parsons was captured on October 19, 2006, in eastern Chillicothe. He was arrested without incident by members of the Ross County Tactical Assault Team at approximately 12:20 pm at a small shack near the Chillicothe city limits.

A number of law enforcement tactical units converged on the location and planned the arrest to avoid injury to any law enforcement personnel or to Parsons. After being booked into the Ross County Jail, Parsons was transferred to the Ohio Corrections Reception Center in Orient, Pickaway County, Ohio, southwest of Columbus.

Parsons, who led local, state, and national law enforcement on a four-month chase after escaping from the Ross County Jail in July, stood before Judge William Jenkins "Jhan" Corzine III in Ross County Common Pleas Court shortly after 3 pm and pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated murder and other charges.

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Parsons is currently serving his sentence at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, Ohio.


John Parsons Pleads Guilty to Murder

Laura Cole -

Dec 08 2006

In court Friday, John Parsons pled guilty to the murder of Chillicothe Police Officer Larry Cox.

Parsons pled guilty to four counts of aggravated murder, one count of aggravated robbery, one count of having weapons under disability, one count of tampering with evidence, two counts of grand theft, and one count of escape.

Parsons will now spend rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole. He will not get the death penalty.

In court, the prosecution talked about a tearful, emotional confession Parsons gave the day after he was arrested for Cox's murder. In that confession, Parsons apologized to the Cox family. He also told investigators that he burned evidence of what happened that night.

Parsons' half-brother spoke with investigators and said Parsons told him he thought he killed a cop that night.

Another key piece of evidence prosecutors had was a fence post with bullets in it that investigators pulled from the place where Parsons did target practice. Those bullets matched the bullet that was found in Officer Cox's body.

In court, John Parsons said he had nothing else to add to what prosecutors and his lawyers said.


Timeline: The Search for John Parsons

April 2005

A masked gunman robs a local gas station and steals a car. The driver eventually jumps out and starts running down an alley. Officer Larry Cox, off duty that night, gets involved and runs after the suspect.  Neighbors say seconds later they heard a shot, and Officer Cox was dead.

May 2005

John Parsons is indicted and charged with aggravated murder, tampering with evidence, robbery and two counts of grand theft.

August 2005

Parsons is moved from the Pickaway County Jail to the Ross County Jail.

July 29, 2006

Parsons escapes from the Ross County Jail.  Just before noon, corrections officers take inmates from the area where 35-year old Parsons is held, out for approved free time.  Police say Parsons used the opportunity to make an escape with a make-shift rope.

July 29 August 2, 2006

Law enforcement launch a massive search effort for the escaped prisoner.  Police focus their efforts on a wooded area near Chillicothe where they believe Parsons is hiding.

August 3, 2006

Authorities call off the ground search for Parsons.  They say the search has now become a nationwide manhunt.

August 2006

Police arrest Orlando Crockett, a former employer of Parsons, and charge him with aiding and abetting an escape. The charges against Crockett are later dropped. Parsons' mother Debra Flesher is also arrested. She is accused of helping her son in his escape.

September 2006

Law enforcement search an area along Three Locks Road in Ross County after receiving a tip that someone matching Parsons' description was seen running from an abandoned cabin into the nearby woods. Days later, a truck driver reports seeing John Parsons at a Sunoco near Three Locks Road. Law enforcement use bloodhounds to track Parsons' scent.

October 2006

Parsons is added to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List. The reward for his capture reaches $125,000.

October 19, 2006

John Parsons is captured behind the Eastern Avenue Lumber Company in east Chillicothe.



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