An Oakland man described by a prosecutor as a sexual predator was convicted today of first-degree murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during a rape for killing a woman 16 years ago.John Parquet, 49, faces a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Leo Dorado on April 23.Jurors deliberated for two-and-a-half days before delivering their verdict against Parquet for the Jan. 7, 1994, death of Oakland prostitute Lowanda Jackson behind an abandoned house at 1339 84th Ave. that was frequented by drug users. Prosecutor Joni Leventis told jurors in her closing argument last week that Jackson’s encounter with Parquet may have started out as a consensual sex transaction but “something went horribly wrong” and Jackson was choked to death.Leventis said of Parquet, “This defendant isn’t about consent. This defendant is about taking what he wants because he’s a sexual predator.”Judge Dorado allowed Leventis to present evidence that Parquet assaulted two other women to give jurors the option of inferring that he has a disposition to commit sex crimes if they thought the evidence warranted such a conclusion.One of those previous crimes occurred on April 24, 1984, when Parquet stabbed and raped Pamela Mason. Mason testified about the incident during Parquet’s trial last month.Parquet, who initially was charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty to assault and rape for that incident but was released from state prison in 1992 after only serving a little more than half of his 14-year sentence.Leventis also introduced evidence that Parquet assaulted and attempted to rape a third woman in Oakland on Sept. 28, 1994, eight months after Jackson was killed.Jackson’s murder was unsolved for many years but DNA evidence connected him to her death in 2004 and he was charged in 2005.Parquet’s lawyer, Alameda County Assistant Public defender Byron Brown, admitted in his closing argument that DNA evidence indicates that Parquet and Jackson had sex. But Brown said he doesn’t think that Leventis proved that Parquet raped Jackson because there were no physical signs of a sexual assault, such as vaginal tearing.Jackson said he also doesn’t think the prosecution proved that Parquet intended to kill Jackson.Leventis said Mason was “very relieved” today to learn that Parquet was convicted and will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.Mason believes that justice has been done for Jackson and is happy that Parquet “is going away forever so he will never be able to hurt anyone again,” Leventis said.Brown couldn’t be reached for comment today.
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