Charlotte woman pleads guilty in connection to 20-year-old woman’s brutal murder

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte woman involved in the killing of 20-year-old Mary Santina Collins pleaded guilty to murder Thursday in a Mecklenburg County courtroom.

Another suspect appeared before a judge and is going to have a jury trial.

“I will look them in their eyes every single time that I have to, to make sure that no one forgets what they did,” said Rylee Bardon, Collins’ sister. “I don’t care how many times I have to show up.”

Kelly Lavery, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, kidnapping and concealing a body.

Prosecutors said in March 2020, Lavery and Lavi Pham lured Collins to an apartment in NoDa tied her up, beat and stabbed her 130 times before stuffing her body into a mattress.

Lavery was sentenced to 25 to 32 years in prison.

“I’m not saying just because I’m her mother, she was the sweetest soul I’ve ever met,” said Kasei Delpezzo, Collins’ mother. “So it adds to the pain to think that somebody would be so brutal and torturous to someone who had a disability and was so sweet and loving. There’s no way to wrap my mind around it.”

Pham pleaded not guilty and his trial date has not been set.

James Salerno who is also charged in the case pleaded not guilty in April.

America Diehl will be in court next week for an administrative hearing.

(Watch below: Family agonizes over wait for justice after woman’s murder)