20 Aug 2014
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Woman Gets 10 Years in Death of Father

Andrea Leigh Blanton will also have to undergo mental health and drug treatment once she is released from prison.

Woman Gets 10 Years in Death of Father

A Ball Ground woman has taken a plea deal in the case in which she was accused of killing her father. 

Andrea Leigh Blanton earlier this week pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and on Wednesday, received a 20-year sentence handed down by Cherokee County Superior Court Judge David Cannon Jr. 

Blanton will be required to serve 10 years and 10 months in prison, and perform 400 hours of community service during her probation period. 

She will also have to undergo mental health and drug treatments, which will be determined by evaluation once she's released from prison. She's also required to participate in the Cherokee County Drug Court testing protocol for the first 12 months of her probation. 

The court also imposed a $2,000 fine. 

Blanton, 46, was arrested in May 2013 after deputies with the Cherokee Sheriff's Office were dispatched to 515 Northridge Road in unincorporated Ball Ground to perform a welfare check on her father, James Minor Reece, 77. 

Authorities located Reece, who appeared to have been dead for several days, and learned Blanton lived at the home with her father and served as his primary caregiver.

Investigators discovered Blanton was staying in the home with her father's body, despite the advanced stages of decomposition, and was initially arrested for failing to report his death.

However, an autopsy performed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Crime Lab revealed Reece died of strangulation. Blanton was initially released on bond, but was taken back into custody, charged with murder and held without bond. 

Blanton was initially indicted on one count each of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, concealing death of another and two counts of possession of methamphetamine. 

The court heard evidence during both the pre-trail hearings and sentencing that outlined Blanton's "significant mental health issues and severe addiction to methamphetamine," Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit District Attorney Shannon Wallace said in a statement.

Wallace initially recommended a sentence of 20 years, 15 of which she'd have to serve in prison. 

The district attorney said that while some mercy for the defendant was appropriate, "here are no winners in this case."

"This family has been torn apart by the defendant’s addictions and choices," she said. "This defendant chose her addiction over her father and he paid the ultimate price."

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