Rosa Parks’ attacker charged in break-in at Livonia church

| September 10, 2009

A man who served time for assaulting and robbing Rosa Parks met up with a priest in Livonia recently, but it wasn’t to go to confession for the 1994 crime against the civil rights leader, according to police.

Instead, it was to steal jewelry from the church rectory, police said.

Joseph N. Skipper, 43, of Detroit waived his preliminary examination in 16th District Court Tuesday on charges of first-degree home invasion, breaking and entering a building and a fourth offense as a habitual offender.

Skipper is charged in the Aug. 29 home invasion of the rectory at St. Michael’s Church.

A priest discovered a man holding jewelry in the rectory bedroom at about 9:40 p.m., according to Lt. Greg Winn of the Livonia Police Department.

The man reportedly asked the priest: “Do you remember when Rosa Parks was beat up? I did that. I just got out of prison.”

The priest called 9-1-1 and police arrived while the man was still in the bedroom, Winn said. The priest was not hurt in the incident.

Winn said the man stopped by the rectory earlier that day and spoke to another priest. “He had knocked at the door earlier, and asked for some money,” Winn said. The man left after he was told to come back and speak with the rectory staff.

Police believe the suspect climbed through a bedroom window to enter the rectory.

Skipper, who broke into Parks’ home, hit her on the face and robbed her of $53 at her Detroit home, blamed a drug problem for the crime. He pleaded guilty and apologized at his 1995 sentencing.

Skipper served an eight- to 15-year sentence at the Alger Maximum Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Parks was treated at a hospital, released and moved from that home. Parks died in October 2005.

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Category: Church Security

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