Transcript: 145. Homicidal Somnambulist, Ken Parks | Canada

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Just before 5am on the morning of 24 May 1987, 23-year-old Ken Parks walked into a Toronto police station, covered with blood. The duty officer thought he looked a bit dazed and out of sorts. Ken made his way to the front desk looking down at his bloodied clothing and hands and said:

I just killed someone with my bare hands; oh my God, I just killed someone; I’ve just killed two people; my God, I’ve just killed two people with my hands. My hands… I’ve just killed my mother- and father-in-law. I stabbed and beat them to death. It’s all my fault”.

The officer took Ken into a room and called for patrol officers to check on Ken’s in-laws. When asked what happened, Ken had no idea. He was anxious and tried to piece together how he ended up at the police station. He drove himself there but could not remember the drive. And the horrific event at his wife’s parents’ house… He had absolutely no recollection, but he knew that he had harmed them. Surely he would not have killed them, he loved them. As murky images flashed through Ken’s mind, he realised that he had committed a monstrous crime.

>>Intro Music

Kenneth James Parks did not have the best of childhoods. He grew up in Toronto with his mother and two brothers – his father left when he was only four. His mom remarried and Ken never had a strong relationship with his stepfather. Ken’s father was still in Toronto, but they were not close either. When he was 15, Ken’s mom and stepfather moved the family to another town, but Ken did not want to go. It was decided that he would stay with his grandparents in Toronto, away from his mom, two brothers, half-sister and stepdad.

Ken dropped out of school in the 11th grade and lived with his grandparents until the age of 20. He met teenage runaway Karen Woods and they fell in love. Ken was a kind-hearted and gentle guy, who saw that Karen had made a mistake. He convinced her to reconcile with her parents, which she did. Ken had brought their daughter home, and the Woods family was eternally grateful.

So, when Ken asked Karen to marry him, they had everyone’s blessing. At the age of 21, Ken was married to Karen and was finally able to have a family of his own. To Karen’s parents, Barbara and Denis, Ken was like their own son. Karen’s teenage sisters still lived at home, and the young married couple spent a lot of time over at the Woods residence.

Ken felt loved and accepted and had a better relationship with his in-laws than with his own parents. His relationship with his father-in-law, Denis, was somewhat reserved, but nice. At 6ft5 and 225lbs, Ken was a big man. His loving mother-in-law Barbara Woods called him ‘her gentle giant’, and he adored her. It seemed life couldn’t get any better: the Woods and their new son-in-law always got along.

In December 1986, Ken and Karen had a baby daughter. In their early forties, Barbara and Denis were young grandparents, and both of them were excited about the new addition to their extended family.

However, things weren’t all that good for Ken. He was harbouring a dark secret… On a beautiful summer’s day in 1986, some friends invited him to the races. He was never interested in betting on horses before, but when he won that day, the bug bit him. Some said it was beginner’s luck, which it probably was, because Ken would not ever win much after that. Sadly, he was always chasing the win, and over the course of five months he became a regular face at Woodbine Racetrack.

Ken enjoyed going to the races, as it gave him an opportunity to blow off some steam. His job as a project coordinator at Revere Electric was demanding and he was often required to work 10-hour-days. And with a baby on the way, he hoped things would change. If he won enough money, he could pay off the mortgage or quit his job and look for something else to do. But his big break never came.

Ken’s newfound pastime soon became a problem and landed him in serious financial trouble. As the baby in Karen’s belly was growing, their bank balance was shrinking. Karen was distracted with the pregnancy and tried to work as long as she could before going on maternity leave. Ken used the opportunity to forge her signature to access their family savings, so he could cover his gambling debt.

But that was not enough. Broke and desperate, Ken began embezzling money at work. He justified it somehow, because of the major strain his employers placed on him. Ken, who had always been a deep sleeper, struggled to sleep, and usually only managed to nod off between 1 and 2:30 am. He’d sleep for 4-6 hours a night, then go to work.

In December 1986, during Ken’s downward spiral, Karen gave birth to their daughter. Ken hoped that he could provide her with a lovely, stable home. However, pressure kept mounting, and as any parent of a newborn baby would know, there was not a lot of sleep in the Parks home. Ken, already someone who struggled to get his 40 winks, often went entire nights without sleep. Exhausted and stressed, he began to experience sharp headaches, for which he took Tylenol.

By March 1987, he had embezzled more than $30,000 from work. When his employers found out about the fraud, he was fired with immediate effect and charged with theft. The company did not want to take Ken to court, they just wanted their money back.

Ken could not hide his problems from Karen any longer and came clean about his gambling. Karen was not impressed, but she loved Ken and knew he would do anything to make things right. She agreed that the only way out was to put their house up for sale. She also went back to work, with their baby only a couple of months old.

During this time, there was a lot of tension between Karen and Ken, and he became increasingly withdrawn. Barbara and Denis Woods were aware of the situation, and they were as supportive as can be expected. Like Karen, they had faith in Ken, and believed that he would dig himself out of the hole he was in. Ken was ashamed of the trouble he had gotten himself into and avoided his in-laws.

Adamant to rebuild his life, he stopped gambling and avoided the races for a couple of weeks. But in the end, his addiction got the better of him and he could not stay away any longer. If he could only have one good win, he would be able to pay off his debt, and save their home, and everything would be okay. But of course, that ‘win’ never came. He even forged Karen’s signature once more in order to access funds, which he gambled away.

On the 15th of May, Ken went to the emergency rooms at his nearest hospital, complaining of chest pains, shortness of breath, a dry cough and vomiting. He was tested and his chest X-ray, ECG and bloods all came back okay, and he was sent home. His gambling was out of control, the embezzlement case against him was looming and he was not sleeping, so it’s fair to assume his health concerns were due to anxiety.

It was time to have a look in the mirror and after his trip to the ER, Ken was ready to admit he was an addict. His first Gamblers Anonymous meeting was on the 20th of May, and he was determined to sort himself out. His counsellors advised him to inform his entire family of the crisis he was experiencing. Ken agreed that it was time to come clean about the extent of his gambling addiction and the financial problems it had caused.

He arranged to meet his grandmother on Saturday the 23rd of May 23to tell her. Then, he planned a BBQ at Barbara and Denis’ house for Sunday lunch, where he planned on opening up to them. It was going to be a cathartic weekend, and Ken was very nervous about how everyone would react.

On Friday night 22 May, he did not sleep a wink. He was up all night, stressing about the bombshell he was about to land on his loved ones. By the next morning, he did not feel up to the emotional task of talking to his grandmother and told Karen he would do it the next day. Instead, he opted to make the best of the good weather on the sunny Saturday and met up with some friends for a game of rugby.

When Ken returned home around 2:30pm, Karen was furious. How could he go out and play sports with his friends while his life was in ruins? He had promised her he would speak with his grandmother, but then copped out. Ken was avoiding his responsibilities and Karen was beginning to lose hope that things would ever get better. They had a massive argument that afternoon, about everything: the gambling, selling the house, his inability to face up to his mistakes…

With the argument somewhat settled, Karen went to work at 4:30pm, leaving their baby with Ken. Ken had his dinner, then he fed his baby daughter, bathed her and put her to sleep at 8:30pm. Once she was sound asleep, he went into the living room and watched TV till about 9:30 or 10:30 when Karen came home. Karen sat next to him, and they watched TV together till midnight. She went to bed and left Ken on the couch watching TV, as he said he would not be able to sleep yet. The last show he remembered watching was Saturday Night Live at 1:30am.

The next thing he knew he saw was his mother-in-law’s face. Her mouth and eyes were open, and she had a frightened ‘help-me’ expression. He heard Karen’s younger siblings screaming upstairs in their family home. His memory became sketchy at this point. He half-recalled going back upstairs to calm the teens down, saying “kids, kids”. Then, in a flash he was inside his car, covered with blood. He had a knife in his hand and immediately tossed it aside. Confused and bewildered, he instinctively drove to the nearest police station.

Ken walked in at 4:45 and told the duty officer that he had killed his mother-and-father-in-law. He was highly agitated and anxious and noticed his injured hands, as if for the first time. Both his hands were soaked in blood and severely cut.

Meanwhile, Barbara Ann Wood’s body was found in her bed. Denis Woods was unconscious, but still alive. Ken was horrified when he learnt about Barbara’s brutal murder. He had no recollection of bludgeoning his mother-in-law to death and claimed that he had done it while he was sleeping. He could not say how he drove there he could not remember the trip at all. He was unable to provide details like whether the keys were in the car when he left the Woods home or not. He could not say which route he took. His first coherent memories came after being at the police station for a couple of minutes.

Police took Ken into custody and accompanied him to the Sunnybrook Medical Centre so they could tend to his hand injuries. He had severed flexor tendons of five fingers on both of his hands: his right middle finger and the ring fingers and pinkies on both hands. He was unaware and felt no pain, until he had told the duty officer what he had done. Such injuries are extremely painful, because the finger nerves are close to the tendons. If the cuts were deep, it could injure the nerves as well. Ken needed surgery to both hands and spent three days in hospital.

When he was discharged, he was taken to Don Jail and later to Toronto East Detention Centre. Ken continued to insist that he knew nothing about the murders, or how he came to be at the police station covered with blood. No one believed him and he was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Ken’s lawyer, Marlys Edwardh came to meet him at the police station soon after his arrest, and realised her client honestly had no idea what he had done. She arranged for a psychologist to examine him, and he too concluded that Ken was in a state of confusion and had no idea what actually happened.

Barbara’s autopsy revealed the violence of her attack. She had five stab-wounds to the chest and neck and multiple blows to her head fractured her skull. Denis had marks on his neck and was treated for stab wounds.

Working through the evidence, police were able to establish wat happened in the early morning hours of Sunday the 24th of May 1987. After falling asleep on the couch, in front of the TV, Ken Parks got up, put on his shoes and left his house without locking the front door. This was very unusual for Ken, seeing as he always made a point of locking doors behind him. He walked from the door, got into his car and drove 23 kilometres (that is 14 miles) from his Pickering, Ontario home, to his wife’s parents’ townhouse in Scarborough. This trip took between 10 to 15 minutes. There are three traffic lights en route. He used the spare key they had given him to let himself into the house, carrying a tyre iron.

Ken walked straight upstairs to the bedroom where Barbara and Denis were asleep in bed and launched an unprovoked attack. He attacked Denis first, choking him which rendered him unconscious. Denis also received stab wounds. With Denis fighting for his life, Ken then turned to Barbara and hit her with the tyre iron, with one hand and stabbing her six times with her own kitchen knife. One stab went through the heart and killed her.

Covered with blood, Ken walked through the passageway and headed back downstairs. Barbara and Denis’ teenage daughters were cowering in fear inside their bedrooms. They heard heavy breathing and loud grunting, an animalistic sound that scared them. Ken turned back and muttered something inaudible – to Ken’s recollection he said ‘Kids, kids.’

When they did not reply, Ken mechanically left the house, walked to his car and drove to the police station, leaving his in-laws for dead. Fortunately, Denis survived, but it was too late for Barbara.

What followed was shock, confusion, anger… Karen could not believe that her kind-hearted husband would ever harm anyone, let alone her parents. It simply did not make sense – Ken’s affection for Barbara and Denis was genuine, she never doubted that for a second. When Denis regained consciousness, he was equally confused. The attack happened so quickly, and he was half-asleep, he never realised that Ken was the assailant.

A remorseful Ken begged for their forgiveness and promised that he could not remember most of it. He told the family, investigators, his lawyer and psychologists the same story: he fell asleep in front of the TV, then he vaguely recalls Barbara’s face pleading with him, and the next thing he remembered was talking to the officer at the police station. The only explanation Ken could think of, was that he was sleepwalking.

Investigators thought Ken was lying to save face in front of his wife and of course, so he would not be charged with murder. But as the investigation progressed, they could not find any motive for Ken to have wanted Barbara dead. Also, Ken’s story was always consistent – they interviewed him more than seven times and he never once changed anything – down to the smallest details, he stuck to what he could remember. His interrogators tried their best to trick him and punch holes in his story, but it didn’t work.

So, was it possible that Ken had committed a violent murder while he was sleepwalking? At first, sleep specialists were sceptical. Sleepwalking is a relatively common occurrence, A study conducted by Stanford University in 2012 concluded that sleepwalking affects 3.6 per cent of adults in the US. Experts believe that sleepwalking is a state of automatism during which a person is unaware of their behaviour. When someone sleepwalks, they can navigate through space, but they do not recognise people. The sleepwalker cannot control his or her actions and has no memory of an episode once they wake up.

Evidence show that sleepwalking can be hereditary and is more common in children than in adults. External factors like stress, sleep deprivation, use of alcohol or antipsychotic drugs and excessive tiredness can contribute to the occurrence of sleepwalking.

To explain: sleepwalking is a sleep state transition disorder. We typically go through four to six cycles of four sleep stages every night. This can differ from person to person, and from night to night. The first three sleep stages are non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) and the third, the deepest sleep stage is REM. In the first stage, you are still somewhat aware of your surroundings as you are only in a light slumber. Then one transitions to Stage 2 which lasts about 10 to 25 minutes. Brain activity slows as you fall into a deeper state of sleep. The third stage is deep sleep, or Slow Wave Sleep, where restorative sleep occurs. From there you go into REM sleep, and then the cycle repeats. Sometimes a person’s brain transitions straight from Slow Wave Sleep to a wakeful state, instead of transitioning to REM.

During the investigation into Barbara Ann Woods’ murder, experts conducted sleep tests on her son-in-law, Ken Parks and found that his EEG readings were extremely irregular. There was an abnormality that meant his brain wanted to wake up 10-20 times a night, straight from Stage 3 – Slow Wave Sleep. There is no way to falsify EEG results and with the data collected from Ken’s tests, doctors started believing that it was possible that Ken was asleep during his drive and the murder on that fatal Sunday morning.

Consider this case for a minute… Willis Boshears, an American serviceman stationed in Essex, England, ushered in the New Year of 1961 at a pub. He met Jean Constable and her boyfriend at the bar and the three of them went back to his apartment where they had a lot of vodka and partied all night. Willis and Jean passed out on a mattress in front of the fireplace. The next morning Willis woke up with a strange feeling of something scratching his mouth. It was Jean’s fingers… Willis was on top of a deceased Jean with his hands around her neck, and her fingers were in his mouth.

In a trance-like state, he proceeded to take Jean’s body to the bathroom where he cleaned her and dressed her – he even cut her hair. Then he took her to his bedroom. Sometime later he woke up and thought that it was all just a bad dream, but when he found Jean’s corpse on his bed, he realised it had actually happened.

Willis panicked and hid the body for two days before taking her out to a ditch, where she was later discovered. It did not take police long to find the last person she was seen with, and Willis was charged with murder. In court, Willis explained that he had strangled Jean in his sleep and could not remember anything. It was a controversial case, but Willis was eventually acquitted of murder.

As was the case with Willis Boshears, Ken Parks experienced a hazy stage. It is possible that Ken transitioned into a partial sleep state while he was still at the Woods’ townhouse, which is why he recalled certain flashbacks. But he only really woke up completely once he was inside the police station.

If Ken fell asleep at 1:30am and arrived at the police station at 4:15, that is a duration of two hours, 45 minutes. His sleepwalking episode thus occurred within the first three hours of sleep, which is when it typically happens.

To place a label on it, Ken was officially diagnosed with parasomnia, a sleeping disorder. Sleep specialists analysed Ken’s background to gain a better understanding of his case. As a child, Ken struggled with bed-wetting until the age of 11. He had always been a very deep sleeper, who often talked in his sleep and hardly ever remembered his dreams the next morning. Sometimes Ken woke up at night, soaked in sweat with his heart pumping rapidly. He never screamed, but still, this was regarded as a kind of night terror, or rather an ‘incomplete sleep terror’.

In his normal awake state, Ken was not a violent person – on the contrary, most people who knew Ken said he was the nicest guy that had ever known. He was not a big drinker – and if he did drink it was beer, not hard liquor. Two to four times a year, Ken took marijuana – but only ever when he went out with his friends, never at home. On that night, he did not consume any alcohol, nor did he take any drugs. More than one psychological examination found some symptoms of depression and anxiety in Ken, but no dissociative disorders like psychosis.

After his arrest, his cell mates claimed that Ken often woke up at night, sat upright in his bed and mumbled for about a minute, then laid back down and continued sleeping. He never remembered these awakenings and was clearly asleep the whole time.

When questioned about Barbara’s murder and the attack on Denis, Ken vehemently denied any prior planning. If Barbara and Denis died, he stood to gain nothing, so there was no motive. He was remorseful and horrified about what had happened and desperately wished he could have undone the crime. His grief appeared to be sincere, and Ken had no reason to lie. He was the one who gave himself up to police and co-operated every step of the way. It was almost like Ken was as much at a loss about the murder as the investigators were.

Ken’s Trial took place in 1989 and his Defence team had their job cut out for them… They had to convince the jury that Ken was not awake when he committed the murders. The Defence argued that he was in an automatist state and therefore not criminally liable. His Defence attorney, Marlys Edwardh said that Ken was in…

“…a sleep-state in which… there is no will or conscious mind directing (the activity).”

In legal terms, murder requires intent. So, the Defence had to prove that Ken was not aware of his actions and that he had not control. To support their claim, they referred to 35 other documented cases of Homicidal Somnambulism.

One of the first documented cases of sleep-related violence, or “nocturnal aggression,” in the world dates back to medieval times. Bernard Schedmaizig, a woodcutter from Silesia (a historical region of Central Europe), woke up one night, soon after falling asleep. He thought he saw an intruder standing at the foot of his bed and reacted swiftly, attacking the person with his axe. All the while, there was no intruder and Bernard was hacking away at his wife, who was asleep in the bed beside him.

Then there was a case, perhaps closer to home for the Canadian jury. In 1846, Boston resident Albert Tirrell slashed the throat of a sex worker and burnt down a brothel before making his escape to New Orleans. He was caught and his defence proved that he was a chronic sleepwalker. They made a solid argument supporting the possibility that Albert was asleep while he committed these horrendous crimes. Albert Tirrell was acquitted, but his contemporaries were always sceptical about his innocence.

All eyes were on Ken Park’s trial in 1989. His wife, Karen was in the courtroom, supporting her husband every day. She testified that Ken had a long history of sleep irregularities, and he had no reason to harm her parents. Ken’s surviving victim, Denis Woods testified that he never saw his assailant and never realised that it was his son-in-law who attacked him. He confirmed that there were no issues or conflict between them in the time leading up to the incident that would have caused Ken to turn to murder.

Ken’s Defence presented his history of sleepwalking, since childhood. The Parks family were known for doing all kinds of odd things while they were sleeping talking, getting dressed, cooking full meals… When Ken was 11 years old, his mother caught him sleepwalking, and aiming to climb out of the window of their 6th floor apartment.

A pattern emerged, making it clear that Ken’s most extreme sleepwalking incidents coincided with times during which he experienced stress or anxiety. On the day on the murders, there was a plethora of factors at play: Ken had not slept much, or even at all in the 48 hours prior. To blow off steam he had played rugby in the afternoon. Ken was out of shape; it was hot and humid, and the game lasted about two hours. He also received a knock to his right temple during the game, but carried on, telling his friends he was fine. Still, this was just another contributing factor to his physical stress. This, added to the emotional stress of his finances, his upcoming court case and the fact that things between him and Karen had become strained, was a melting pot of circumstance.

Ken had planned a BBQ at his in-laws’ house for the next day, during which he was going to open up about his problems. The uncomfortable conversation that laid ahead was on his mind as he fell asleep.

Interestingly, psychologists felt that the content on the television while Ken was falling asleep was not insignificant. Dennis Hopper hosted that particular episode of Saturday Night Live and it contained unusually violent content for a comedy show. Dennis Hopper told a story about one time when he was stoned, and he ran into the street screaming:

“If you are going to kill me, kill me like this, kill me like this, kill me naked!”

The episode also contained the final scene from the 1969 film, Easy Rider, where a gunman shoots at a motorcycle. The rider falls clear of the bike as it bursts into flames. Although this did not necessarily incite violence, it was the last thing Ken saw before falling asleep.

Five neurological experts testified that Ken had no psychological or mental illness, but only a sleep disorder. All of the witnessed agreed that Ken was asleep during the attack. It was inadvertent murder, committed in a state of automatism.

The Prosecution felt that the Defence’s argument was outrageous. They pointed out that most sleepwalking episodes occur within a shorter window of time, 10-40 minutes at most. The Defence countered, pointing out that the entire event could have taken place in as little as 30-40 minutes: there would have been no traffic during the fifteen-minute drive, and the attack itself did not take long.

Still, it was unbelievable that Ken drove 14 miles, committed the crime and then drove yet again, this time to the police station. It seemed too logical, too planned-out. His Defence argued that he routinely drove the same route to his parents-in-law’s townhouse and could do it with his eyes closed – so to speak.

When the Prosecution questioned the neurological experts, they wanted to know if it was possible for someone to formulate a murder plot while they were awake, then execute it while they were sleeping. Like programming a robot. However, experts definitively agreed that this was impossible.

This was the Prosecution’s question and psychiatrist Dr Ronald Billing’s response as per the court transcript:

Q.  Is there any evidence that a person could formulate a plan while they were awake and then in some way ensure that they carry it out in their sleep?

               A. No, absolutely not.  No.  Probably the most striking feature of what we know of what goes on in the mind during sleep is that it’s very independent of waking mentation in terms of its objectives and so forth.

There is a lack of control of directing our minds in sleep compared to wakefulness.  In the waking state, of course, we often voluntarily plan things, what we call volition – that is, we decide to do this as opposed to that – and there is no evidence that this occurs during the sleepwalking episode.  There usually is ‑ well, they are precipitated.  They are part of an arousal, an incomplete arousal process during which all investigators have concluded that volition is not present.

Thus, there was no pre-meditation. The Prosecution also failed to provide a motive. Ken had no history of violent behaviour; he had a healthy relationship with his in-laws and by his own admission he could not remember attacking them. Science also backed up Ken’s version of events.

Much to the surprise of the public, after the jury deliberated for nine hours, Ken was acquitted of both charges: the murder of Barbara Woods and the attempted murder of Denis Woods.

This was a landmark case, that made Canadian legal history. Much debate followed, centring around the question if sleepwalking should be classified as a mental disorder or not. Legally speaking, that would mean that someone who had committed a sleepwalking murder could plead ‘not guilty for the reason of insanity’ and receive mental health assistance, preventing them from re-offending. Experts agreed that sleepwalking is a sleep disorder and not a mental illness.

An hour after being acquitted in the murder case, Ken Parks appeared in front of a District Court and pleaded guilty to fraud. He received a three-month suspended sentence, providing he repaid his former employer.

In Canada, unlike America, the Prosecution is able to appeal the outcome of a murder trial. Which they did in Ken Park’s case. However, in 1992 – the Supreme Court upheld its decision to acquit. And to settle the debate regarding sleepwalking defence… The Supreme Court ruled that it would be up to the judge’s discretion in such as case, as Homicidal Somnambulance remains a very unusual occurrence. The problem is that proving someone was in fact sleepwalking while committing a crime was very difficult.

The concern was a matter of principal… If all murderers came forward and said, they were asleep while they killed their victims, would they be acquitted too? Ken’s case became the legal point of reference in many of these ‘sleepwalking defence’ cases. Ken’s case was unique: he was diagnosed with parasomnia based on scientific tests. In the time leading up to the attack, he many triggering elements were at play: emotional stress, a lack of sleep and physical exertion. There was also no motive whatsoever for him to kill someone he loved and respected.

One of the best-known sleepwalking cases is that of Scott Falater. Scott is serving a life sentence for killing his wife at their Phoenix, Arizona home in 1997. He had stabbed her 44 times and rolled her body into the swimming pool. Hearing a commotion next door, the Falater’s neighbour peeked over the fence, and saw Scott holding Yarmilla’s head under water. The neighbour called 911 and saw Scott back inside the house, changing his clothes.

Scott had no recollection of the murder and claimed he only woke up when a police officer pointed his gun at him, asking how many people were in the house. Despite Scott’s history of sleepwalking, he was found guilty.

Arguably, what made Scott’s case different, was his actions after the murder: he got changed and placed his bloodied clothes, along with the murder weapon in a Tupperware container. He then concealed it in the wheel well inside the trunk of his car, that was parked in the garage. It all seemed too pragmatic and conscious for someone who claimed to have been asleep. Scott’s neighbour also heard him yelling at the dog during the murder, telling him to be quiet – and as sleepwalkers typically do not recognise people or pets, his automatism defence was questioned.

Back in Canada, Ken Parks was a free man. He was given the medication Clonazepam for his disorder and never sleepwalked again. Reportedly he occasionally sits up while he’s asleep, but that’s it.

In 2006 Ken tried to run for a position on the Durham District School Board. It caused backlash from the community, because of his past. Ken stated he had five kids in the school system. He wanted to serve his community, not turn the election into a circus because of his background. He is a concerned parent, that’s all. An anonymous member of the community said they were not concerned about the sleepwalking case, but his gambling addiction and fraud charges made them worried. The sins of his past continue to haunt him.

For a gentle-natured person like Ken, living with the knowledge that he had taken Barbara Woods away from her family must be a nightmare. One can understand it logically, but how does one reconcile it emotionally? If you were to put yourself in Karen’s shoes, knowing that your husband killed your mother, even if he was unaware of his actions, how would you feel?

Four years after his acquittal, Ken and Karen divorced. He remarried and had five more children.

Homicidal Somnambulism is every bit as frightening for the sleepwalker as it is for their loved ones. Ken’s doctors are confident that he will not re-offend, and that he is diligent in keeping his ‘sleep-hygiene’ good. What makes this case unsettling is that, without awareness or control, a big teddy bear like Ken Parks turned into a murderous grunting grizzly, just by falling asleep.

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