Candlelight vigil held for West Warwick murder victim
WEST WARWICK, R.I. —
On Monday night, friends and family members gathered in West Warwick one year after a fight over a loud dirt bike turned deadly.
"He was a great soul. He never was out to harm anybody," the victim's nephew Michael Nigro said while holding a white candle blowing in the breeze.
Several dozen people got together, huddling in the cold, in a circle, each with a candle to remember the life of 56-year-old Michael Parrish.
It's a small group, with a big, gaping void, and an awful lot of pain.
That's because Parrish was a West Warwick dad, musician, uncle and friend to many.
The music-loving Yankees fan would have turned 57-years-old on February 15th, but at this time last year, he was run over by a pick-up truck twice and killed, in an explosive West Warwick neighborhood dispute that's said to have begun after Parrish complained about dirt bike noise after it buzzed by his house.
Parrish's nephew Michael Nigro said, "This week's a little tougher, being the anniversary and stuff, so it just brings it back to the forefront more."
Everyone at the small remembrance ceremony has something in common, a great love for Michael Parrish.
Parrish's nephew was there on scene that terrible day.
Nigro said, "Well, it's obviously tougher to get out of my head because I observed my uncle die, and that I can never get rid of. That's gonna be in my head, and I'm gonna see that for the rest of my life. If I wasn't there, I would want justice just as bad, I just wouldn't have the visuals to deal with."
Now Parrish's neighbor, 23-year-old Justin Schoonmaker is charged with first degree murder for allegedly running Parrish over with the pick-up truck, and Schoonmaker's friend, 21-year-old Christopher Shreffler faces second degree murder charges for his alleged role in the incident.
Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.
And while they wait for the trials to begin, Parrish's family will share stories and laughs, to keep his memory, alive.
"Just thinking about how we would watch the Yankees together, and I would wake him up to make coffee for us, and how he would always make us laugh. Just various different stories of his hijinks over the years, you know, that we're never going to forget, and we're always going to miss"
Parrish's family says they'll wait as long as it takes to get justice for Michael.
Schoonmaker and Schreffler are due back in court for pre-trial hearings in March.