by: Greg Suskin Updated:
ROCK HILL, S.C. - A Rock Hill woman who's lost her children twice to the state for the way she let them live, was sentenced to prison Wednesday.
Misty Ann Williford, 35, was sentenced to six months, followed by three years’ probation.
Rock Hill police were called to her home on Brookview Court in July 2013 and obtained a search warrant to go inside.
Officers took pictures of a townhouse in horrible condition. Pictures show a mess in the kitchen, filthy beds with no sheets, a bathtub full of junk and human waste, and piles of clothes and trash everywhere.
There was pet urine and feces throughout the house, and the home had no power.
Neighbors like Susan Tisdale remember seeing an extension cord running from the apartment to the neighbors. The cord was being used to run two fans, the refrigerator and a video game system.
Tisdale said neighbors felt like they had to do something.
"The neighbors did it because they didn't want the children to be in that type of heat," she said.
Williford was living there with her two sons, ages 4 and 8.
On Wednesday in court, Erin Joyner of the Solicitor's Office, described the conditions inside the home, and the impact of the blazing July heat on the day police were called.
"It was very hot inside. It was about 91 degrees on the day officers searched the home," she said.
Joyner pointed out that Williford already has a conviction for unlawful conduct toward a child in 2011, for letting her kids live in filthy conditions at the same address. It's her mother's home, and she was staying there without paying rent or any bills.
After charges were filed, a judge had to issue a bench warrant for Williford after she missed several court appearances.
Police also found drug paraphernalia used with meth and cocaine in the home, and at first it was thought there was a meth lab inside.
"There were fire trucks all over the place and the guys in their suits went in there. They told us all to leave," Tisdale said.
Drug agents did not find an active meth lab.
Williford tested positive for cocaine last August, but told the court Wednesday that she's been clean since.
She broke down in tears listening to the charges against her and the description of conditions in her home
Last summer, DSS placed her two boys with a relative, but Williford violated the family agreement by having unsupervised visits, and DSS intervened a second time. Now the children are in the custody of the state.
Tisdale hopes prison time will make a difference for her former neighbor.
"Being that it's continued to happen over and over again, I kind of hope maybe that this was a wake-up call," she said.
Williford will also have to undergo drug and alcohol treatment, and counseling.
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