A driver is being charged in the intentional death of two young newlyweds in love. According to the Idaho Statesman, 22-year-old Matthew Parkison and 17-year-old Amelia Parkinson were walking hand-in-hand on a sidewalk in Fruitland, Idaho on June 24. At about 3 p.m., a car veered off of U.S. 95 and hit the couple.
They died at the scene.
The driver was 37-year-old Jason L. Verwer, a local man. As KTVB 7 reports, the suspect was charged with two counts of second-degree murder. The prosecution said that there's no indication that the suspect knew the victims.
An autopsy was done and according to the pathologist, the cause of death was lethal traumatic blunt force. The pair was visibly in love. Shared the Payette County coroner sadly, “She was wearing a shirt that said, ‘I love you to the moon and back.'" He added, emphasizing their young life cut too short: “Just the thought of those innocent young lives walking down the street holding hands ...”
Authorities say that early indications show that the driver intentionally mowed down the pair but his motive for doing so is not known. A witness told the Idaho Stateman that the suspect fled on foot after the crash but people nearby stopped him. Another witness shared that the victims were dragged by Verwer's vehicle until it came to a stop. The witness said the suspect allegedly he never braked.
Verwer (seen below) is currently in custody and is being held for a mental health evaluation.
“His threat to the community is great,” Payette County Prosecutor Ross Pittman said. He pointed to Verwer’s criminal history that includes a 2009 domestic battery case in Nevada.
Verwer is now being held on $1 million bond and faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted. The minimum sentence if convicted is 10 years. If he is able to post bond, he may not be allowed to drive or to be in the front passenger seat of any vehicle. He must also wear a GPS device and stay in the Treasure Valley area.
A GoFundMe was set up for the victims last month.
[Photo: GoFundMe, Facebook]