Tasha Parsons, 30, appeared in Decatur County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon before Judge Matthew Bailey, formally pleading guilty to the June 2011 murder of her 12-year-old son, Devin.
The agreement marks an unexpected turning point in the year-old case.
Before Tuesday's plea, Parsons' trial had been reset multiple times, indicating her intent to fight the charges, which, in addition to murder, included neglect of a dependent.
Her most recent trial date was Aug. 13.
According to court documents, as part of the agreement, the neglect of a dependent charge will be dropped. Additionally, the state will also withdraw life imprisonment without parole as a punishment, leaving Parsons eligible for early release.
The plea agreement stipulates that Parsons shall receive "a total sentence of 60 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections."
Parsons also faces monetary fines.
The defendant appeared in court Tuesday in a county-issued orange jump suit and wrist and ankle shackles. She walked with head down, guided by personnel from the Decatur County Sheriff's Department and jail.
To be certain she understood the agreement and that she'd been appropriately advised of its legal ramifications, Judge Bailey reviewed its most significant stipulations with Parsons during the hearing.
The defendant listened intently, confirming in a low, monotone voice, that yes, she understood the agreement; yes, she had reviewed it thoroughly with defense lawyer Christopher Tebbe; and yes, she completely understood its legal ramifications and consequences.
Prosecutor Jim Rosenberry also called to the stand lead investigator Detective William Meyerrose, a 22-year veteran of the Greensburg Police Department.
During Meyerrose's testimony, the state offered into evidence a June 4, 2011 video-recorded interview Parsons voluntarily gave to Meyerrose and Detective Pete Tressler of the Indiana State Police, the case's other lead investigator.
The courtroom sat in charged, rapt silence as the video played.
In the interview, Parsons recounted the events of the evening of Devin Parsons' murder, admitting to detectives to "kicking and stomping" him 14 or 15 times, and punching him in the head.
Parsons refused to accept blame for the murder, however, instead laying primary culpability with her live-in boyfriend at the time, Waldo Lynn Jones Jr., who's scheduled to be tried Oct. 29.
Parsons also contended in the interview that Jones forced her to run a bath for Devin Parsons, who was "bleeding everywhere" by that point. She further stated that, while in the tub, Jones submerged her son's head in the water multiple times and held his face under the running faucet.
Parsons stated her certainty the boy was "drowned" as they dragged him from the bath and laid him on a bed. She also told detectives that Jones held a lit cigarette against the boy's legs as he lay on the bed to prove he was "faking."
According to reports, however, autopsy results ruled out death by drowning and instead attributed the boy's death to "multiple blunt force traumatic injuries from head to toe."
In the interview, Parsons also confirmed that, during the hours-long beating, Devin Parsons was also "hit with a metal TV tray," had his head "pounded into the floor repeatedly with a cooler," was "thrown into a home-entertainment center," was "smashed over the head with a coffee table," and was "hit with a belt."
The incident began, Parsons further explained, when Devin Parsons allegedly stole a quantity of illegally-obtained prescription Percocet pills from Jones and the defendant, and refused to divulge their location.
The defendant in court Tuesday afternoon presented a notable contrast compared to the belligerent, slightly incoherent, 29-year-old jailed suspect who recounted the murder to detectives on the year-old video recording.
Parsons spoke little during Tuesday's hearing and offered nothing resembling the repeated denials or deflection of blame heard on the video. She also confirmed to Judge Bailey she was no longer under the influence of alcohol or any drug.
Instead, the defendant quietly confirmed to Judge Bailey, that yes, she was indeed guilty of beating and murdering her son and that yes, she was aware of and resigned to face the consequences.
Parsons' sentencing is set for July 20.
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011