Judge gives one more chance to recalcitrant young mom on probation

FORT WORTH -- Krystal Parson could have been sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for many violations of her 10-year probation in the 2003 stabbing death of her boyfriend, Patrick Pipkins.

Parson tested positive for drugs six times in 14 months, skipped six meetings with her probation officer, failed to complete 240 hours of community service and didn't pay probation fees.

However, instead of throwing the book at her, state District Judge Elizabeth Berry gave Parson one more chance, in part, Berry said, because probation officials failed to address the problems underlying the violations.

"You had a probation contract between you and the court to abide by certain rules," Berry told Parson before ruling that she could remain on probation under stricter conditions.

"You didn't follow your end of the rules. However, I don't feel the court through the probation department lived up to our end of the bargain either.

"There couldn't have been any more clear red flags."

Berry cited testimony from Quentin Walden, a probation liaison for Criminal District Court No. 3, that Parson's probation officers never told him that she had tested positive for cocaine, Ecstasy and marijuana six times in 2007 and 2008.

"In my opinion, there was poor supervision by the probation officers," Walden testified. "The court should have been notified after the second [positive drug test]. We still wouldn't have known if she hadn't absconded."

Prosecutors moved to revoke Parson's probation in May, five months after she last reported for what were supposed to be monthly meetings with a probation officer.

Parson has been in jail since June 1, when she turned herself in to authorities.

Berry ordered her to spend 180 more days in jail. When she gets out, she'll be fitted with a GPS monitor and must report twice a month to probation officials. She'll have two years to complete 240 hours of community service while keeping a full-time job -- something she said she had trouble doing before.

Most importantly, Berry said, Parson must be evaluated by mental health professionals and get counseling to help her with the emotional problems that she said led to her probation violations.

Parson, now 27, said she still has nightmares about stabbing Pipkins to death during a violent fight at her Grand Prairie home in July 2003. She said she regrets that their now 7-year-old daughter doesn't have a father.

"I did it," she said, tearing up. "But it still hurts to know that people think of me as just a murderer -- not Krystal Parson."

Parson's mother, sister and the father of her 4-year-old daughter said her courtroom testimony was the first time they'd heard the details of her crime. They said they had no idea that Parson was taking drugs, skipping probation appointments and work.

Berry urged Parson to follow her sister's example and seek support from a church community.

"They don't charge for counseling and they can provide extra emotional guidance that you and your children would benefit from," she said. "This is your chance to make it or break it. Good luck."

Martha Deller, 817-390-7857

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