ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - The adoptive father of slain teenager Erica Parsons made a brief court appearance Thursday at the Rowan County courthouse.
Rowan County Sheriff's Office detectives and a State Bureau of Investigations agent flew to the federal prison in Milan, Michigan Wednesday morning and took Sandy Parsons into custody. He arrived back in Rowan County around 4 p.m. and was transported directly to the detention center.
Eyewitness News reporter Mark Becker was in the courtroom as Sandy made his first appearance. The judge read Sandy the charges against him and Sandy was was appointed an attorney.
Erica's biological mother Carolyn Parsons was in the courtroom and told Channel 9 that the Sandy she saw in court was not the same man she once knew.
Sandy was brought back on the same day that his wife, Casey Parsons, faced a judge on murder charges in the death of Erica.
Around 4:30 p.m., Casey was brought into the courtroom where she requested a public defender.
Members of Erica's biological family, adopted family, and the community waited for hours Wednesday to watch Casey face the judge.
"I can't say there will ever be closure, but I can say this may help with closure," Carolyn Parsons, said.
Erica was reported missing in 2013 and her remains were found in 2016.
Casey and Sandy are accused of physically abusing Erica, killing her, and then trying to cover it up for years.
"All the horrible things she did to my sister breaks me and rips my family apart," said Erica's biological sister, Brittany Cline.
The Parsons have been in federal prison since 2014. They've been serving time on fraud charges for accepting benefits after Erica’s disappearance.
Casey and Sandy Parsons are charged with the following felonies:
- First-degree murder
- Felony child abuse with serious physical injury
- Felony obstruction of justice
- Felony concealment of death
Casey was being held in the Rowan County Detention Center under no bond.
The couple's former attorney, Carlyle Sherill, predicts the trial will have to be held somewhere else.
“There is a very good chance it will be moved out of Rowan County and I don't know how far they can go, but there has been a lot of publicity about it,” Sherill said.
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- New hearing set for Erica Parsons' adoptive parents
- Investigators search home of missing teen Erica Parsons
- Jury convicts Sandy Parsons for embezzlement, mail fraud
- Expert: Feds to closely monitor adoptive parents of Erica Parsons
- Rowan Co. Sheriff: ‘Progress being made in Erica Parsons' case'
- Erica Parsons' biological mother says 3 years since seeing daughter
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Sherill said any appointed defense attorney will likely focus on the autopsy that led to the charges.
The report detailed alleged abuse but didn't provide a cause of death other than homicidal violence of undetermined means.
“They can't say how she died,” Sherill said. “In fact, it says in there it could be from an infection. That's all we do is create a reasonable doubt.”
One person who has no doubt about the case is Teresa Goodman, Erica's biological aunt.
“Justice is finally coming for Erica,” Goodman said. “She (Casey Parsons) is going to have to pay for what she done and I am not going to let her get away with it.”
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