Man who burned dead toddlers’ items apologizes, pleads guilty

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2013

SALISBURY — Facing the grieving family he targeted last fall, Bobby Joe Milam said he didn’t remember breaking into the couple’s home and burning their dead toddler’s items.
Milam, 26, pleaded guilty Thursday to ransacking Nick Munn and Jessica Kepley’s home in the days following their son Parker Munn’s drowning. Milam was sentenced to between 20 and 42 months in prison.
“From a father to a mother, I’m sorry for what I put you through,” Milam told Kepley in Rowan County Superior Court. “I had no hate in my heart.”
Milam blamed a drug addiction for the burglary.
“I had a serious problem with Xanax and alcohol,” he said. “When I woke up the next morning, I didn’t know what I had done to your house.”
Along with prison time — which will be less because of the amount of time already served — Milam also was sentenced to pay restitution for the burned and sold property, and to undergo drug tests while in jail.
Superior Court Judge W. Erwin Spainhour seemed appalled by the case after Rowan County Assistant District Attorney Tim Gould began feeding him details of the investigation Thursday morning.
At one point, Gould described a blackened keepsake found amongst the rubble in a pile behind Milam’s home.
The burned book contained the child’s birth certificate.
Authorities said Milam and then-girlfriend Jessica Necole Williams burned what they couldn’t sell to area pawn shops.
“He burned it?” Spainhour interjected.
“He burned it,” Gould replied. “He burned a number of personal items of the child.”
The experience was all too familiar for relatives who have sat through several court hearings since last fall, including Williams’ plea agreement on March 8.
“I can’t wrap my head around how somebody could do this to somebody, specifically Bobby Milam, because he did CPR on my child,” Kepley told the court.
Kepley’s 13-month-old son was found on Sept. 11, 2012, in a small decorative pool near the family’s Rockwood Drive home.
Milam was one of several who tried to revive the child, Kepley said.
“I know he has kids and for him to have kids and know that love for a child, I just don’t get it,” she said. “If anybody has kids, how can you do something like this, you know?”
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.