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Woman pleads guilty to killing coworker at Hickory plant, sentenced to 20 years

HICKORY, N.C. — A woman accused of killing her coworker at a Hickory furniture plant in 2021 pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Thursday and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Tangela Parker shot and killed Michelle Marlow using a 357 Magnum in January 2021, prosecutors said.

Parker and her husband, Eric Parker, were arrested in August 2021 after eluding authorities for six months.

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Authorities said Tangela Parker shot Marlow on Jan. 13, 2021, at TCS Designs in Hickory a few days after a workplace dispute.

“The defendant called Michelle, excuse my language your honor, a (expletive) ) and told someone ‘I’m going to wipe the floor with her,’” said prosecutor Tim Gould.

After the deadly shooting, Parker fled the state with her husband, who also worked at the plant.

The Parkers spent months on the run before U.S. Marshals caught up with them at a home in Phoenix, Arizona. Authorities said the couple had changed their appearance and were living under the fake names of Jason and Elizabeth Reardon.

Marshals said the couple was very resilient -- even panhandling and begging for money after leaving North Carolina.

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Investigators said the couple fled in their Honda CRV, living for 11 weeks in their car and taking odd jobs, including working at a ranch, to survive. They changed the tag on their Honda and found a room on Craigslist and were renting it at the time of their arrest.

Parker’s attorney said it was a phone call to her parents that led to the couple’s capture in Arizona.

“She has consistently said she has no memory of the shooting,” said Vickie Jayne, the defense attorney.

Jayne said Parker claims she doesn’t remember the murder and was taking high doses of Xanax, which resulted in her having a diminished mental capacity at the time of the shooting.

Marlow’s daughter spoke to the judge Thursday with her father holding a photo of his wife.

“The loving, caring compassionate, all-around exuberant, wonderful, radiant person she was,” said Makayla Marlow, daughter.

“She took everything,” said Justin Marlow, husband. “And I’m just not ready to forgive her yet.”

Her husband, Eric Parker, remains locked up at the jail charged with accessory after the fact for helping her flee.

Tangela Parker was sentenced to 24 to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: $250K bond set for woman accused in deadly furniture plant shooting)

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