Teen’s adoptive father pleads guilty to second-degree murder

December 17, 2019 - 6:43 pm

SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) — The adoptive father of a North Carolina teenager who was missing for years before her body was found in South Carolina has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges, prosecutors said.

Sandy Parsons, the adoptive father of Erica Parsons, pleaded guilty in Rowan County Superior Court on Tuesday to second-degree murder, child abuse, concealment of death and obstruction, according to news sources. He was given a prison sentence of 33 to 43 1/2 years.

Casey and Sandy Parsons were charged in the death of Erica Parsons, who was reported missing in July 2013, two years after she was last seen alive, when she was 13 years old.

In 2014, the two were convicted in federal court of keeping federal adoption assistance money after Erica had disappeared from their home. Casey Parsons was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Sandy received an eight-year sentence. Federal prosecutors also said at that time that the evidence indicated that Erica Parsons was dead.

In 2016, Sandy Parsons led authorities to Erica’s body in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. In August, Casey Parsons was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and other charges connected to Erica’s death. Prosecutors have called her “the more culpable party.”

The Rowan County District Attorney’s Office said several factors were considered in Sandy Parsons’ plea arrangement.

“Without this defendant’s cooperation, it is highly unlikely that Erica’s remains would have been located and any successful prosecution would have been extremely difficult,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

The district attorney’s office also noted that reaching an agreement saves the other children who lived in the Parsons’ home additional pain.

“The children who lived in the home with Erica have also been significantly impacted,” the statement said. “This disposition helps prevent further traumatization of these children having to re-live the events surrounding Erica’s death, and potentially testifying against their own father in a murder trial.”

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