Parisio Enters "Not Guilty" Plea In Schmidt Homicide
Remains in Union County Jail after brief hearing before Superior Court Judge Joan Robinson Gross.
Parisio was standing before Superior Court Judge Joan Robinson Gross in his first court appearance since being charged Monday night with first-degree homicide in Schmidt's death. She was found in the basement of Parisio's parents' Greaves Place home. Investigators called the cause of death "severe trauma."
A dissheveled Parisio shuffled upstairs without handcuffs or leg irons as he was escorted by court deputies into the prisoner's holding area in the courtroom, which is separated by safety glass. His 6'2", 220-pound frame was covered in an oversized jumpsuit, with "Inmate U.C. Jail" printed across the back and "INMATE" down his right leg.
Parisio's public defender, Elizabeth Ramsey, entered a not guilty plea and waived a reading of the charges. The hearing, which lasted no more than five minutes, was delayed by a "code blue" incident at the jail, which precluded all prisoners from being moved within the Union County Jail, where Parisio is being held on $400,000 bail.
"There is to be no contact with the family and the family must be notified when he is released," said Robinson Gross. Ramsey didn't publicly say whether she was seeking a bail reduction. She had no comment after the hearing.
As Parisio slumped down onto the bench in the holding area, he looked as news reporters and photographers before half-heartedly trying to hide his face. He appeared to not have shaved or bathed and moved lethargically.
Parisio's only comments were simple "yes, ma'am" when asked about his address, and whether his listed residence was a house. His parents, Joseph and Dianne, were not present at the hearing. Aside from members of the media, only one other person attended the hearing. The woman, who didn't want to be identified, is an employee of the county jail and said she was attending the hearing because "I have a daughter who is going to college next year and I want to be aware of what is going on on campuses."
No future court dates were arranged at the hearing, so Parisio will continue to be held in the county jail until his next appearance. Parisio, whom witnesses say was taken out of his family's home Sunday afternoon in restraints on a gurney and transported to Overlook Hospital in Summit for observation.
Friends and neighbors have labeled the accused killer, who until this semester had been on schedule to graduated from Rutgers University, as a gentle but troubled young man. In published reports, his mother said that Parisio had been on the drug, bath salts, earlier this year and was released from a Florida drug rehabilitation facilty two weeks prior to his arrest. She also said that he was scheduled to enter a Monmouth County facility on Monday. Parisio has been battling bipolar disorder for several years.
Bath salts have gained popularity in the United States in the last six months and can be purchased in smoke shops and convenience stores. The drug provides a euphoric high to users, including such effects as staying up for up to 36 hours, behaving frantically, having a high concentration levels and sexual stimulation. The name is a nickname due to the drug's similar appearance to the bath product. A bill has been introduced in the New Jersey legislature to outlaw the active ingredient, MDVP, in the state. MDVP has already been outlawed in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Idaho.
On Wednesday his mother Diane Parisio told Courier News that she did not intend to assist in his legal defense and that he could never come back to the family house because of his decision to take bath salts.
Schmidt's funeral is scheduled for Satuday morning at Higgins Funeral Home in Watchung. Schmidt and Parisio had dated for six years, after meeting through mutual friends. The pair, who were both Rutgers students, also interned together at Sirius Radio. Schmidt worked in the station's human resources department, while Parisio worked on Howard Stern's show.
Schmidt was widely regarded as a "go-getter" who was enrolled in a five-year dual bachelor's and master's degree program in human-resources management. She was sticking with Parisio despite his continuing battle with substance abuse.
Parisio on Tuesday also expressed deep sympathy for the Schmidt family — members of which have not returned a phone call seeking comment — and said she has no intentions of becoming involved with her son's legal defense. William on Monday night was being held in Union County Jail on $400,000 bail.