Caregiver pleads guilty in death of elderly stepfather
by Joshua Sharpe
March 19, 2014 04:00 AM | 2690 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Andrea Blanton, left, who has been charged in the strangling death of her stepfather, listens during a hearing in May 2013, along with her attorneys, Ross Grisham, center, and Scott Poole.
Andrea Blanton, left, who has been charged in the strangling death of her stepfather, listens during a hearing in May 2013, along with her attorneys, Ross Grisham, center, and Scott Poole.
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CANTON — A Ball Ground woman facing charges of murder and assault in the May 2013 death of her elderly stepfather is pleading guilty to a lesser charge, court records show.

Andrea Blanton, 46, is set to be sentenced in Cherokee Superior Court today after submitting a petition Monday to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of 77-year-old James Reece, whose death allegedly went days without being reported.

The 46-year-old has been accused of strangling Reece in a Northridge Road home near downtown Ball Ground and then remaining with the body in the split-level house where the two lived.

Authorities have said Reece was unable to care for himself because of dementia and relied on his daughter as his primary caregiver. While Reece was not Blanton’s biological father, he was the father she had known since she was 18 months old, her mother once said.

Asked what she was specifically admitting to in her petition to plead guilty Monday, Blanton wrote: “Negligent care of elderly father led to his death.”

Blanton’s attorney, Scott Poole, said Tuesday he was barred from speaking about the case until after the sentencing because of a gag order. He was able to confirm Blanton wasn’t expected to be prosecuted on the other charges in the case, with her plea of guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

She has the right to withdraw her plea before the sentencing hearing, which is today at 2 p.m. If convicted of voluntary manslaughter, she faces between one and 20 years in prison, according to Georgia law.

The investigation into Reece’s death began May 14, when authorities found the decomposing body and arrested Blanton. Recent court documents show the date of Reece’s death is still unknown but is believed to have happened between May 8 and 14 of last year.

At first, Blanton was charged with concealing a death and bonded out the same day. She was arrested again May 16 and charged with murder after an autopsy said her father died of strangulation.

In August, she was indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another.

Last week, Blanton was indicted on additional charges of possession of methamphetamine, stemming from May 14 and 16, both days she was arrested.

Blanton’s alleged methamphetamine use was a topic discussed in a hearing last May, when she was denied bond. Alleged attempts to influence witnesses and concerns about suicidal threats were also discussed before the judge in the case, Superior Court Judge David Cannon Jr., denied bond.

She has since been denied bond again and remained on Tuesday in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.

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