U.S. Supreme Court rejects Sandy Parsons’ appeal for reduced sentence
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016
By Shavonne Walker
VIRGINIA — Sandy Parsons, the adoptive father of missing Rowan County teen Erica Lynn Parsons, will remain in federal prison to serve the duration of his eight-year sentence after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his appeal for a sentence reduction.
Parsons and his wife, Casey, were sentenced in March 2015 on fraud charges after authorities say the couple received government-funded adoption assistance, Medicaid, Social Security, and Food and Nutrition Services benefits for Erica after she no longer lived with them, and used the mail to commit the fraud. Sandy was found guilty of 43 counts of a 76-count indictment.
Parsons and his wife, Casey, were thrust into the spotlight in 2013 after their biological son, James “Jamie” Parsons reported to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office he had not seen his adopted sister, Erica, since December 2011.
The sheriff’s office launched an investigation into Erica’s disappearance and were told by Sandy and Casey they allowed her to live with her biological grandmother, Irene Goodman, who they knew as Nan. Investigators and the Goodman family said those claims were false and there was no Irene Goodman.
Jamie Parsons testified in federal court that he was a witness to his parents’ abuse of Erica. The couple also encouraged the other children to abuse the girl, according to testimony. Jamie admitted in court at one point he broke Erica’s arm.
A federal judge told the couple he believed they killed Erica or did something to get rid of her. No criminal charges have been brought against Casey or Sandy in connection with Erica’s disappearance.
In January, Sandy Parsons appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., and then the U.S. Supreme Court, where a judge made his ruling earlier this month.
Casey pleaded guilty to 15 of the 76-count indictment and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. She also filed an appeal.
In her appeal, Casey said she pleaded guilty to fraud, not acts of violence. She said 10 years was more than triple the applicable sentencing guidelines for the fraud offenses. A typical sentence for the fraud crimes would have been about three to five years. But under federal sentencing guidelines, the couple’s prior criminal history and conduct could be considered by the judge.
Federal prosecutors said the couple failed to report Erica missing and believed the couple abused Erica.
Casey also lied to Amy Miller, who she was a surrogate for, and told the Michigan woman she had a miscarriage and then tried to sell the baby to her sister, Robin Ashley.
The couple also set up eBay accounts where people paid for various items. The couple pocketed the money, but never sent the items.
Casey’s attorney, Alec Carpenter, said in a January letter that the Fourth Circuit dismissed her appeal based on the appeal waiver in her plea agreement. He advised Casey she could file a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, but said based on his knowledge of the case and the court’s opinion he believed filing a petition would be “frivolous.” He withdrew as her attorney.
She has yet to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.