A father who died from a drug overdose. A sense of self based on the opinions of others. Fear over money issues and not being able to maintain the lifestyle he'd become accustomed to as he entered his junior year at Centennial High.

Those were among the things on the mind of Parker Chamberlin leading up to the day he took a knife and plunged it into his mother's body 35 times, Chamberlin testified Monday.

"At that time in my life I thought my life would be better if my mom was dead," he said. 

At times emotional, and at one point even breaking down sobbing, Chamberlin testified he lives every day with the horror of the "brutal, callous" death he inflicted on his mother, and the pain he's caused to her family and friends. 

"Not in many lifetimes would I be able to pay sufficiently for what I did," he said.

Prosecutor Nick Lackie, however, didn't buy Chamberlin's testimony. He asked Chamberlin if he took any acting classes in prison, and otherwise cast doubt as to the authenticity of his displayed emotions. 

"Do you normally shed tears when you cry?" asked Lackie, apparently noticing no moisture on Chamberlin's face. 

Chamberlin was 15 at the time of Tori Lynn Knapp's slaying in 2001. Now 33, he's back in Kern County for a resentencing hearing that could possibly set him free. State prison officials last year recommended him for resentencing based on his good performance while in custody. 

On Monday, the second day of the hearing, Chamberlin testified he grew up believing his father's cocaine addiction was his fault. He said his father's death, which occurred when Chamberlin was 7 or 8, felt like the "ultimate rejection of me." He believed his father chose drugs over being with him. 

He testified his entire identity and sense of self in high school weren't tied to anything authentic. He saw himself only in terms of others. The validation of others was what mattered. 

During the summer of the killing, Chamberlin said, he'd been taking steroids to bulk up for football. They made him feel depressed. He began making impulsive decisions and couldn't understand why he made them.

For instance, he quit a baseball team. Then he dropped out of a summer school class he'd been doing well in. 

The morning before the killing, Chamberlin testified, his mother didn't give him his allowance and told him they needed to cut back on spending because they were in debt. He said he didn't think much of it at first, but it began bothering him more throughout the day.

That night, while at a friend's house, he began feeling more and more pressure about not being able to meet the expectations of his upcoming junior year. With his mother dead, he reasoned, his family would feel sorry for him and the pressure would go away.

Chamberlin left his friend's house and walked several miles to his mother's Rosedale area home. He then entered her bedroom and killed her.

"I panicked and I made this terrible, terrible impulsive decision," he testified. 

He said he felt no consideration for his mother or anyone else at the time. He just acted on his impulse. 

While acknowledging he can never make up for his mother's killing, Chamberlin testified "everything has changed" in how he sees himself and others. Now, he said, his identity is guided by values like love, compassion and integrity. 

Lackie asked if Chamberlin's desire to be free should receive more consideration than the many people, including numerous relatives, who wish him to remain behind bars. 

Chamberlin said "no." He testified he doesn't believe he will ever "deserve" to leave prison. 

"Any type of material freedom that I experience would be an act of mercy or grace," he said. 

The hearing will continue Wednesday afternoon. 

Judge Michael G. Bush could decide Chamberlin should continue serving his sentence, in which case he'll be eligible for parole in 2023. Or he could strike a weapons enhancement that was part of Chamberlin's prison term and knock one year off his sentence.

Lastly, he could resentence Chamberlin to probation, and he would be released. 

The court last week heard from a psychologist who recently examined Chamberlin and found no evidence of psychopathy. A couple counselors who worked with Chamberlin in prison testified they found him to be a model inmate who helped others and sought no special favors. 

After stabbing Knapp to death early July 3, 2001, Chamberlin at first told authorities he had encountered an intruder attacking his mother. He later admitted killing her. 

(11) comments

ontou

I knew Torrie in high school and when we were in our early 20s we lived next door to each other. She was an amazing person, incredible wit, happy, smart... Learning recently she was murdered by her son has been shocking news to me. And reading about the circumstances, I have to say I hope he has to complete his sentence and not be released. He should be held accountable as the Manson family women have been. What an egregious crime he committed~ Senseless!!!

Cookcook

Didnt know they offered acting classes in prison.Wouldnt that be defeating the purpose? Oh yes on more thing DONT LET HIM OUT OR THE FIRST GIRLFRIEND HE SPEAKS WITH AND REJECTS HIM WILL PAY !

2carpoor

He chose steroids (despite being warned.) Being entitled and in a " 'roid rage" he walked three miles and stabbed his mother 35 times. She's not going to get "overs". Neither should he.

GaryJohns

That's approximately six months for each stab wound.... At that price, I might like to look a few folks up myself....!

REMUDA

Lemmeesee here . . . !? When I was 15, did I think differently about the fundamental sense of myself and how others saw me? No. Did I love Mom? Yes, as a best friend. Did I have friends to compare feelings and futures? Yes. And 65 years later, nothing's changed, except Mom (RIP), who still guides me. I've never really changed my sense of right & wrong that was formed back then and tested over time. However, if he's released, we will surely see . . . sooner rather than later. Don't trust me. Trust yourself.

ajweberman

He thinks he is going to be cut loose because he is white. And it might work.

HeresJohnny

Nope, not buying it. This dude needs to stay locked up for the rest of his life.

xtinasan

I had just finished first grade when this happened. She was my sister’s third grade teacher, and she was in the last class Mrs. Knapp would ever teach. This lady was one of the best teachers I knew! I aspire to be as amazing as she is! Always full of life and happiness, and constantly smiling. Even what I write about her doesn’t do this lady justice to explain what an angel she is. I always questioned how anyone could kill a lady like her, especially if it’s your mother. Personally, I’m conflicted after hearing the struggles I never knew of. I agree that no tears is definitely something to question. At the same time, part of me believes he is not a sociopath. A sociopath would not have soon admitted to killing the mother. He would have lied and lied even with clear evidence. Instead, he later came out with the truth. I believe in mercy too, but this is a hard one. He definitely makes a compelling case especially when he says he doesn’t deserve to be free. It’s also concerning his family thinks he should still be incarcerated, but is that out of anger or because he really should be?

ganczakr42

It seems to me the Prosecutor may have hit the nail on the head here: Did you take acting classes while incarcerated (not likely but point made). He says all the right things but so did other serial killers. One Murdered his Grandparents but was released from prison due to "good" behavior only to murder his own mothers also but 6 you women. My son who is in law enforcement say in prison these characters learn exactly what it takes to get out!

ganczakr42

I believe in mercy BUT I'm not sure that applies here. You give the appearance of crying with no tears tells me everything. Nothing releases the mother from her uninstigated & undeserving punishment of death either. So at least let him serve his sentence to it's fullest. Life - don't believe so because if his mom had a say she would forgive him &, I believe, ask for mercy.

BlackSheep

I logged in to say just that! Not a SINGLE tear. This was not an exhibition of remorse, it was the bad acting of a being whose values are truly lacking.

Not only does his self-described thought process from that period suggest mental instability, but the way in which he expressed and explained his motivation for the killing indicate to me that nothing has changed but his age. He’s just an older, more articulate sociopath. I would not want this person on the streets ever again.

He belongs behind bars for life. God help us if the judge disagrees.

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