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Erica Parsons’ adoptive father pleads guilty to murder, sentenced

Editor’s note: For the Post’s full story on the plea and sentencing, read “Erica Parsons’ adoptive dad to serve minimum of 33 years for murder, abuse, obstruction.”

SALISBURY — Sandy Parsons on Tuesday accepted a plea in the murder of his adopted daughter Erica Parsons and was sentenced to up to 43 years in prison. 

Sandy on Tuesday — eight years after Erica’s death — pleaded to second-degree murder, child abuse, concealment of death and obstruction. He was set to go to trial and April. Because of his plea, he will not receive a life sentence.

The plea comes four months after his wife and Erica’s adoptive mother, Casey Parsons, received life in prison. Casey pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other charges, receiving a life sentence without parole.

Court statements Tuesday from Shirley Stone, Casey’s mother, said she and her husband suspected Erica was being abuse but “shrugged it off.” In court, Sandy also said he turned a blind eye to the abuse, saying he was sorry “from the bottom of my heart.” He admitted to failing her as a dad.

A psychologist who testified said Sandy was controlled by his wife and that he was depressed, had anxiety, attempted suicide and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after Eric’s death. The psychologist further testified that Sandy has nightmares about burying Erica.

He was sentenced to a total of 32 to 43 years at the conclusion of his federal sentence, which is seven years on charges of mail fraud, tax fraud and identity theft. Casey received a 10-year sentence on the same charges.

District Attorney Brandy Cook said Sandy is neither a hero nor a victim, and that he deserved the maximum sentence.

The case dates back to July 2013, when Sandy’s and Casey’s son, Jamie, reported to authorities that he had not seen Erica Parsons since December 2011.

As the case unfolded the couple told law enforcement and their own family members stories that Erica had been dropped Erica off at her grandmother’s, that they were accepting adoption and food stamp assistance for Erica but were sending them to her caregiver and that a girl with the same name who lived in Greensboro was Erica.

In late 2016, Sandy told investigators with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office that Erica had committed suicide on Dec. 17, 2011, that he and his wife placed her remains into a plastic trash bags and a storage container, poured bleach over her body to disguise any smell, placed the container aside and attended a holiday party that same evening.

On day later, Sandy and his wife went to Pageland, South Carolina, and dug a hole in which they placed Erica’s remains.

But her death was preceded by abuse to which the couple has pleased guilty in court. Casey admitted to beating Erica with a belt buckle and bending her fingers back. Erica was locked inside of a closet, ate dog and cat food and, on occasion, from the trash can. Family members saw Erica with gnarled hands, a black eye and bruises on her bottom as well as open cuts on her body.

A week before Erica’s disappearance, Erica told Casey she couldn’t breathe and, according to Jamie, the adoptive mother told the girl, “I don’t care; get back in the (expletive) corner.”

For the Post’s previous stories on the Parsons case, visit salisburypost.com/category/erica-parsons

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