SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The adoptive parents of missing Rowan County teenager Erica Parsons are being held at the Forsyth County Jail after they were sentenced in federal court to a combined total of 18 years in prison Friday.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it will be at least a couple of days before Casey and Sandy Parsons find out which federal prison each will serve the time.
Sandy Wade Parsons, 41, and Casey Stone Parsons, 40, were sentenced by United States District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in Winston-Salem.
Sandy Parsons was sentenced to 96 months in prison; 3 years supervised release; $14,062.00 in restitution; and a special assessment of $4,300.00.
Casey Parsons was sentenced to 120 months in prison; 3 years supervised release; $41,814.00 in restitution; and a special assessment of $1,500.00.
They were taken into custody immediately.
A spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons told WBTV they don't know yet what type of federal prison - maximum, medium, or minimum security - Casey and Sandy Parsons will serve time. He said it will be based on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the crime, prior convictions.
The Parsons were convicted of defrauding the government by continuing to accept federal adoption assistance money long after Erica Parsons was gone from the family home.
The judge said Friday that he would accept almost all of the testimony about Erica Parsons' alleged abuse, stating the testimony from family members was credible. The judge went on to say the story of Erica Parsons being given to a grandmother was "a poorly concocted, deliberate falsehood."
Judge Schroeder lectured both Casey and Sandy as each heard their sentence. He said that he believed they had abused Erica in such an extreme manner that when something happened to her in 2011, they refused to get medical help because the abuse would be evident.
Schroeder described Erica Parsons as a "defenseless little girl who only wanted to be loved," but instead was the victim of "extreme" abuse. He said that he believed the earlier testimony that Erica was forced to live in a closet, that she was constantly in fear of soiling herself, and that if she did, she was punished. Schroeder said he believed that Erica died in 2011. He said he believed that on that night she was first punished for complaining that she felt bad, then died and was taken and abandoned by Casey and Sandy in what the judge called a "horrible, horrible act committed in the dark of night."
"I have sentenced thousands of people over the years," Judge Schroeder told the couple, "But no case I've ever had is as disturbing as this one."
The judge called Casey Parsons "morally bankrupt" and said she had a "depraved mind." He also described Sandy Parsons as having a "twisted mind" before handing down their sentences.
Schroeder also said the he believed testimony from FBI agents that there is no record of Erica's existence since 2011.
Sandy and Casey walked into the federal courthouse at 7:24 a.m., more than two hours before the start of the hearing. The couple and their daughter, Brooklyn, had no comment as they dodged rain and reporters to get to the front door.
Casey Parsons' sister, Robin Ashley, told WBTV "I wish she would have got more but I think it's more than I thought she would get so I'm happy."
Ashley said "in a way I feel this is justice for Erica. If they're not going to be charged with murder which I think they should, I feel it's justice for Erica in a way. I mean not complete justice. I think she deserves more."
Ashley said she didn't attend the sentencing because "I couldn't be there with them. It just physically makes me sick to be in the same room with them" but she was glad the judge sent her sister and brother-in-law to prison right away.
"I know it's my sister but what she's done to Erica - Erica was a little girl," Ashley said. "She didn't deserve that... I feel absolutely nothing."