SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Sandy Parsons took the stand Friday morning as the only witness called by his attorney. He testified that he never saw any of the documents that were presented by the government in the case against him. Sandy Parsons said his wife handled anything that needed to be signed and when he was asked to sign it, he would.
When asked about the tax return filed in his name that listed Erica after she was gone, he said, "I ain't never filed a tax, Casey fills them out. Casey said sign this so I signed it, later adding "that's why I got Casey, she takes care of me."
Sandy Parsons said he was more of a follower than a leader. During cross-examination, the prosecutor asked Parsons if that applied to his role as a father, asking him if he took responsibility for his children. Parsons answered, "yes."
Government prosecutor Anand Ramaswamy asked, "including Erica Parsons?" Sandy parsons answered, "She can come back any time she wants."
During closing arguments the prosecutor told the jury that Sandy Parsons "is claiming absolute ignorance to every major event of his life."
The prosecutor said that Parsons "admits what he can't deny and denies what he can't admit." Ramaswamy told the jury that Sandy Parsons was aware that he and wife Casey were receiving the adoption assistance dollars after Erica was gone from the house, and pointed out that Sandy signed an application for food stamps at the Rowan County Department of Social Services after Erica was gone, but that the application listed her as still being in the home.
As far as Erica Parsons is concerned, the prosecutor admitted that many in the jury might be wondering what happened to the young girl. Since that part of the case could not be discussed, the prosecutor told jurors that "this case is not about where Erica is, it's about Erica was not for twenty months."
John Bryson, the attorney for Sandy Parsons, painted a picture his client as being totally oblivious to the family finances, and said that while the government had built a good case for fraud against Casey Parsons, it had not proved criminal intent on the part of Sandy Parsons.
Bryson described his client as "essentially a carrier pigeon" for wife Casey. He told the jury that Sandy Parsons had only a 9th grade education, and that he could not read or write very well, and had to rely on Casey to handle the family checking account.
"That was not his role," Bryson added.
In his response, the prosecutor said that Sandy Parsons showed "a level of ignorance that is astounding."
After all of the evidence had been presented, Sandy told WBTV how he thought the case would go. He simply answered, "It's now up to 12 honest people."
The jury had the case for about an hour and half Friday afternoon before asking to stop for the weekend.