O'BRIEN: Quincy woman paying steep price for lying on stand

Posted: Jun. 6, 2014 3:47 pm Updated: Aug. 29, 2014 7:15 pm

All Dayonna Tyler wanted was for her daughter to be part of a family. That meant doing whatever she had to do to make sure her daughter's father, Pierre Parrish, could be with them.

With Parrish in the Adams County Jail awaiting trial on armed robbery charges last December, Tyler hatched a plan to get him out with the thought that he would be home for a family Christmas.

She laid out her plan the weekend before Parrish's trial was to start in Adams County Circuit Court.

"Are we gonna get me up outta here?" Parrish asked Tyler during the 10-minute call that was -- like all other calls inmates have at the county jail -- subject to police monitoring.

"Yes. I'm so scared, though," Tyler replied.

"I'm scared for you," Parrish said.

"But I have a good plan, though," Tyler told him.

A few days later, Tyler took the stand and recanted all of her testimony she had previously given to a grand jury in the case, which centered on a December 2011 robbery of a credit union on Quincy's southwest side.

Soon after she was finished testifying, the jury was whisked out of Judge Scott Walden's courtroom. As soon as they were out of sight, Tyler was arrested on the witness stand and lodged in the Adams County Jail.

Not long after that, the jury found Parrish not guilty of the armed robbery charges and he walked out of jail a free man.

On Thursday afternoon, Tyler, 20, wound up paying for her plan. Once again, she had handcuffs put on her inside Walden's courtroom. She was sentenced to eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections on three felony cases. The perjury charge earned her six years.

The end result of Tyler's action was that she went to prison so Parrish, 29, wouldn't have to. It was a bold trade not many people would be willing to make.

The fact someone lied on the stand isn't shocking. It happens every day in courtrooms across the country. What Tyler did went beyond telling a simple fib to cover her own tracks. Her actions made the jury's job in Parrish's case much more difficult.

"The harm is that what you did prevented the trial from being a free airing of the case," Walden said.

Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard said Thursday Tyler couldn't have done more damage to the criminal justice system than if she had set off a bomb in the courtroom during the trial.

Prosecutors often ask judges for stiff sentences as a deterrent for others who may think about doing the same crime. Walden addressed that after announcing this sentence for Tyler.

"Hopefully, others out there who are willing to lie for themselves or for others will give pause," Walden said.

Walden said Tyler wrote that "she would do anything to be a family again." In her letter to the court, Tyler said Parrish "mind manipulated" her. Her attorney, John Hauk, said Tyler committed a theft so that she could get money for Parrish's defense.

"She was hoping Pierre would come around and be a father to the child that she wanted," Hauk said.

Hauk said Parrish has not been a part of his daughter's life since he was released from jail after his trial. The trial, though, has been on Parrish's mind. Barnard introduced evidence Thursday of Parrish's Twitter page, which for a time showed a copy of a surveillance picture of the bank robbery as his cover art.

"There is an aroma of glee when you look at (the Twitter page)," Barnard said.

What happened here is no laughing matter. On Tuesday, the couple's daughter, who is being cared for by Tyler's family, will celebrate her second birthday. The girl's mother will be in jail and who knows if her father will be there for her.

That's the saddest part in the scenario. Instead of bringing a family together, it has been ripped apart, and a toddler won't have a mother to lean on during her formative years.


Things to Do

Sign up for Email Alerts