Sandy Parsons set to go to trial for murder of Erica Parsons in April
By Shavonne Walker
SALISBURY — Sandy Parsons, the adoptive father of missing teen Erica Lynn Parsons, is set to go to trial April 6, 2020, for her murder.
During a brief Thursday morning hearing, attorneys set the trial date nearly seven years after the girl was reported missing.
Sandy Parsons’ biological son, Jamie Parsons, reported Erica missing in July 2013 and her remains were discovered buried in a shallow grave three years later.
Sandy Parsons on Thursday was led into a superior courtroom, clothed in an orange Rowan County-issued jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled. He was seated between his attorneys Vincent Rabil, of Winston-Salem, and Tom King, of Salisbury.
The hearing lasted less than five minutes and was held to finalize a trial date. Rabil said he has a trial proposed for March, but it should not conflict with this trial. He also informed Judge Anna Mills Wagoner of his request for a change of venue.
The attorneys and Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook said the trial is scheduled to last six weeks.
In August, Casey Parsons, the adoptive mother of Erica Parsons, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder during a lengthy hearing. She was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on the murder charge, plus consecutive sentences on charges of felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury; felony concealment of death; and felony obstruction of justice. The sentences on the related charges, totaling 23 years, will be served at the expiration of her current federal sentence.
Casey Parsons is already is serving a 10-year federal prison sentence on charges of mail fraud, tax fraud and identity theft. Sandy Parsons is serving a seven-year federal prison sentence for the same fraud offenses.
District Attorney Brandy Cook during the court hearing Thursday read pages of statements from law enforcement, family members and autopsy reports that recounted the years of abuse the girl suffered.
The case was brought to law enforcement attention after Jamie Parsons told Rowan investigators that he had not seen his sister since December 2011. Jamie Parsons told investigators that his parents, himself and his siblings — Brook, Toby and Sadie Parsons all abused Erica.
Rowan investigators were told that Erica was living in Asheville with her biological grandmother, Irene Goodman, a woman the Parsonses said they knew by the nickname, Nan.
The couple claimed adoption assistance and Medicaid benefits for Erica when she was not living in the house. They also claimed her on their taxes. They were sentenced in federal court on fraud and other related charges.
In May 2016, Brook Parsons, the couple’s oldest daughter, agreed to speak with FBI investigators. Before then, she had corroborated her parents’ statements.
Brook told agents that Erica’s skin looked “black,” not normal and that she had open cuts on her body. In August 2016, Brook visited her father in federal prison, and he told her that he would help investigators find Erica.
In October 2016, Brook spoke with Rowan County sheriff’s Detective Chad Moose and told him Erica was made to stay in a closet most of the time. She said Erica looked weak the final days she saw her.
The detective reached out to Sandy Parsons in federal prison. Sandy told Detective Moose that Casey told him Erica committed suicide on Dec. 17, 2011.
Sandy confessed to placing Erica’s remains into a plastic trash bag and storage tote. He said they poured bleach over her body to disguise any smell. The family later attended a holiday party on the same evening.
On Dec. 18, 2011, Sandy said he and his wife went to Pageland, South Carolina, and he dug a hole. They removed Erica’s remains from the storage tote, and Casey took off her clothes and they buried her. He broke the tote into pieces and discarded it along with Erica’s clothing, Sandy said in statements to law enforcement.
Casey admitted to the detective in December 2016 to some instances of abuse exacted on Erica. Casey said she found Erica dead on the floor that night and claimed Erica killed herself by taking pills.
During an August hearing this year, District Attorney Brandy Cook detailed the conditions in which Erica lived, including not being fed and, in some instances, eating dog food and out of the trash can.
The girl was locked in a closet in Brook’s room and sometimes the couple’s bathroom.
An autopsy showed Erica Parsons had several broken bones and other fractures including ribs, jaw, arms, fingers and leg bones, shoulder blade and nose.
Examiners could not exclude terminal blunt force injury, suffocation or strangulation as causes of death. The final results were “homicidal violence of undetermined means.”
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