Troy Parker's lost car keys were his ultimate undoing.
Albany Police found the set nearby a Center Square apartment where they were investigating the brutal sexual assault and robbery of a 20-year-old college student returning home after getting a pie from a Lark Street pizzeria. Investigators had cordoned off the block and were gathering evidence when they also found a vehicle parked illegally in a crosswalk.
The keys found near the scene of the attack matched the vehicle that was towed. And the vehicle just happened to be one that Parker used frequently, leading police to arrest the 45-year-old parolee in connection with the attack.
Parker was found guilty counts of second-degree sexual abuse, strangulation and robbery following a jury trial in September. For his crimes, he was handed a sentence of 40 years to life in state prison during a sentencing in Albany County Court.
Parker grabbed the victim as she entered the vestibule of her building carrying a pizza pie in one hand. He grasped her by the neck and sexually assaulted her before demanding money.
Parker's victim handed him her wallet and cell phone during the attack. As he was thumbing through the wallet for money, she was able to get away and flag down two men walking on Lark Street.
Investigators got a break in the case when they learned a vehicle was registered to his girlfriend. Parker, who was living in Niskayuna at the time, claimed police had nabbed the wrong guy and accused his victim of racial bias at trial.
But Parker's record suggested a pattern of violence, which was later reflected in his lengthy sentence as a persistent felon. At the time of his arrest, he was on parole in connection with a mid-90s robbery conviction from the Bronx.
He was convicted there of first-degree robbery and sentenced to 7 to 15 years in state prison. He was released in December 2007 and was to remain on parole through October 2012.
Prior to that conviction, Parker was sentenced to 2 to 7 years in 1990 in connection with another Bronx robbery, state records show.
Assistant District Attorney Shannon Sarfoh of the Special Victims Unit handled the prosecution.