Published 12:00 am Friday, March 8, 2013

SALISBURY — A neighbor accused of breaking into a grieving family’s home just days after their toddler accidentally drowned and later burning the child’s belongings pleaded guilty Friday.
In Rowan County Superior Court, Jessica Necole Williams said she took the stolen items from Jessica Kepley and Nick Munn’s Rockwood Drive home in September and sold them at a pawn shop.
Williams was sentenced to six months in prison. Because she’s been in the county jail since her Sept. 21 arrest, she has two months left behnd bars. She will spend another three years on probation.
Williams’ boyfriend Bobby Milam was also charged last year in the burglary. Milam’s charges are pending.
Jessica Kepley, mother of Parker Munn, gave an emotional testimony Friday, and at times seemed almost unable to continue.
“I just wish I could get through my head why somebody who has children could do this to somebody else who’s child just passed away. I’m not sure I’ll ever wrap my head around that,” Kepley said through tears.
“I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that they could do that to somebody who’s going through this. I have no words, really,” she said. “The stuff that was stolen we can never replace ever again,” she said.
Relatives found the home broken into when the returned from the 1-year-old’s funeral one week after his death.
Assistant District Attorney Tim Gould said in court that a confidential informant tipped off a Granite Quarry officer that Milam was a suspect.
“Bobby Milam, co-defendant in this case, said that he blamed the family for the child’s death and he would make them lose everything,” Gould said the informant told him.
Relatives later said it was the first time they had heard Milam’s alleged remark.
When the toddler drowned in September, Milam was one of those who assisted in the failed rescue, even giving CPR to the child.
Court officials said Friday they have evidence of Milam acknowledging in a recorded jail phone call that he was responsible for the break-in and burning of Parker’s belongings.
After the tip, Rowan investigators obtained a search warrant and raided Milam and Williams’ nearby mobile home.
Behind the home, detectives found a fire pit with several scorched items, including a picture frame, an angel ornament and a book containing the boy’s birth certificate.
On Friday, Williams spoke quietly and politely to presiding Special Superior Court Judge Reuben Young.
Clad in a brown jail-issued uniform and standing beside defense attorney David Bingham, the 22-year-old answered mostly in ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ responses. She elected not to speak to the family.
“No, your honor,” Williams said. “I’m just very sorry.”
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.