Ex-abortion doctor being released, ex-prosecutor making sure ICE sends him home to native Nigeria
As a prosecutor, J. Ronald Parrish made it his mission to make sure that a Laurel doctor didn’t get away with
murdering his wife. And now, after
retiring, he’s still working to make sure that justice is carried out.
Dr. Malachy DeHenre, who was on the outspoken assistant district attorney’s infamous “Wall of Shame,” is scheduled to be released by the Mississippi
Department of Corrections at the end of this month after serving only nine years of his 20-year sentence for manslaughter. But Parrish wants to make sure that he doesn’t have a chance to return to Jones County — or anywhere else in the country, for that matter.
“I was dismayed to learn that he was getting paroled,” Parrish said, “but not shocked due to the crazy people on the parole board and the idiots in the legislature whose laws allow people to blow their wife’s brains out and get released after serving less than half of their sentence.”
Though he retired from the DA’s office almost three years ago, Parrish received notification from the MDOC that
DeHenre was to be released from custody on July 28. Parrish immediately called Immigration and Customs Enforcement to share a tidbit he learned during the prosecution of DeHenre — the doctor is a citizen of Nigeria and was in the United States illegally.
“When I found out they were about to cut him loose, I called ICE to make sure they had a hold on him,” Parrish said. “They assured me that they did. The agent I talked to said they were going to pick him up a couple of days early. He said, ‘Now we’ve got (a president) who will let us do our jobs.’”
The case was personal to Parrish, who was in office with DA Tony Buckley
DeHenre was arrested in January 1997 in the shooting death of his wife, Dr. Nayaha DeHenre. But when he went to court the first time, the case ended in a mistrial, with an 11-1 vote by the jury to acquit him in 1999.
“It’s amazing how messed up the case was by the prosecutor at the time,” Parrish said, referring to then-ADA Bill Phillips. “The defense lawyer (David Ratcliffe) walked all over him. Thank goodness one lady (juror) held out. She’s the hero in this.”
While DeHenre was free, he killed two more women — one in Jackson and one in Alabama — during botched abortions and he had to pay $500,000 in damages to a woman he “butchered” at his New Woman Medical Clinic, which was closed by order of a Hinds County judge in 2005. DeHenre lost his medical license in both states, but a year later, Parrish saw a story in the paper about the doctor getting his medical license back.
“There was his big smiling face and a story that said he was getting his license back,” Parrish recalled in a previous LL-C article. “I wondered why this guy was running around free, especially after the horrific way he killed his wife, who I have heard nothing but praises about. The day I saw and read that article was a bad day for him.”
Parrish got the file the next day and went to work, finding enough evidence to merit a new trial, even calling in world-renowned pathologist Michael Baden, who testified that DeHenre pulled the trigger, not his wife, on that fateful night in their Laurel home more than 10 years earlier.
The jury found him guilty in March 2008 and he began serving his time in prison. Before the trial, a group of local black leaders, including Thaddeus Edmonson — another member of Parrish’s Wall of Shame for taking a bribe while he was on the Laurel City Council — protested his prosecution. After his conviction, DeHenre appealed to the state Supreme Court, complaining that one prospective juror called him “an abortionist” in front of the others. Then-Judge Billy Joe Landrum determined that the doctor could still get a fair trial, and the high court narrowly upheld his decision by a 5-4 vote.
“I try to keep up with the murderers and scumbags I dealt with during the time I had the privilege to be in the DA’s office,” Parrish said.
The DeHenre case is among the most gratifying cases he handled in all of his years there, but it’s also the most frustrating, because of what happened while DeHenre was free.
“For seven or eight years, he walked the streets, doing whatever he wanted to do,” Parrish said. “During that time, he killed two women that he butchered during abortions and killed 30,000 unborn babies … and bragged about it. He said he needed the money. Couldn’t a bank robber say the same thing?”
Parrish, who is a devout Catholic, said there was nothing he could do about the thousands of babies, but he could get justice for DeHenre’s wife then and see that he doesn’t have a chance to kill again in America.
“I don’t like people who kill women or babies, born or
unborn,” Parrish said. “Men who kill or beat up women or babies are scum and deserve the full measure of the justice system. I’m glad for the
opportunity to send this man back to his home country.
“He almost got away with it, but thanks to that one juror, he didn’t,” Parrish said. “Actions have consequences. Now
he’ll have to commit his heinous, despicable crimes in Nigeria.”