ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty against a Rowan County woman accused of murdering her adopted daughter.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Erica Parsons Case]
Casey Parsons appeared in Rowan County court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.
She's charged in the death of Erica Parsons.
The girl’s body was found in 2016, five years after she was last seen alive.
Investigators said the child was likely dead long before she was reported missing and her remains were found on a property off Moore Road, near Pageland, South Carolina.
[Erica Parsons Missing -- Timeline]
Prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty against Erica’s adoptive father, Sandy Parsons.
The Parsons have been in federal prison since 2014. They've been serving time on fraud charges for accepting benefits after Erica’s disappearance.
[READ MORE: New warrants detail life of 'child torture' suffered by Erica Parsons]
They were brought back to Rowan County earlier this year to face state charges in the case.
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
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Attorney Carlyle Sherrill used to represent the Parsons and said he's not surprised that prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
He believes that with the death penalty on the table, there is no way the case can be tried in Rowan County. He also believes the autopsy report gives the defense an opening.
"I think the autopsy lends itself to creating some of that doubt because it doesn't say specifically how she died," Sherrill said.
The capital defender’s office appointed Parsons an attorney and Sherill thinks it will be a long time before the case goes to trial because the defense will need to do their own investigation.
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