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UPDATE: Willie Blanton pleads guilty to killing parents

By: Whitney Burks, Hillary Thornton Email
By: Whitney Burks, Hillary Thornton Email

LOUISA, Ky. (WYMT) - UPDATE 5:30 p.m.

Just days before Father's Day, reality sets in for some people in Johnson County.

They called him their son, but Friday Willie Blanton admitted he murdered his mother and father, Larry and Sandara Blanton.

The Blantons disappeared last September.

Their son Willie was considered a person of interest from day one all while pleading his innocence.

"I've had people make accusations that I would do something to my parents when anyone that knows us around here, my mother's my best friend," Willie Blanton told Mountain News in September.

In February police found the Blantons' bodies buried on their Oil Springs farm.

Shortly after, Willie Blanton was indicted for their murders, and Friday his story changed.

"Negotiations have been ongoing the whole time. Mr. Blanton's been willing to resolve this case for a few months now," said Public Defender Steve Goble.

Blanton entered a guilty plea admitting he killed his parents and disposed of their bodies.

"I personally think his conscience has got the best of him. He just wants it over," said Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price.

Blanton's guilty plea surprised almost everyone, but most agree they are glad to see this case is wrapping up.

"I think his actions today speak to his willingness to let his family move on," said Goble.

"It gives them a whole lot of closure. It's pretty much over for them. As far as the court proceedings go it's over. I'm sure they're going to have this on their mind until the day they die," said Sheriff Price.

The commonwealth's attorney recommended life in prison without parole for each murder charge.

Blanton was also facing charges for tampering with physical evidence, persistent felony offender and criminal possession of a forged instrument.

The commonwealth recommended 10 year sentences for each of those to run concurrently.

Blanton will be formally sentenced on Monday in Johnson County.

The story had many in the tiny Oil Springs community talking for months and now many are saying they are shocked at Willie Blanton's plea.

Folks living in the Oil Springs area of Johnson County say it is a quiet, close knit community and they are now thankful they can get back to feeling safe after what they say has been a nightmare for the area is coming to a close.

Neighbors of Larry and Sandara Blanton say the news of their disappearance and then murders sent shock waves through the small community.

Larry Baldwin says, "That's really the worst thing that has happened on this creek, I mean I've lived here 46 years and that's....it is awful, we've never had anything like that."

Payne Rice was a friend of Larry Blanton's and says, "When I heard that Larry and Sandy were missing...I was shocked."

When the truth came out about what really happened to Larry and Sandara at the hands of their son, Willie, neighbors say they can't believe that happened so close to home.

Rice says, "I just can't imagine, anyone that would want to kill their mother and father."

Now hat Willie will be held responsible they say they can begin to move on. Rice explains, "I believe the community is going to be more at rest and at ease knowing that Willie will be at least in the pin and that is where he deserves to be."

They say they will never forget their neighbors and more importantly someone they called a friend. "He would do just about anything I needed....of course I miss him awful bad," says Rice.

Willie Blanton's former girlfriend Amanda Fannin was also considered a person of interest in the case.

Amanda Fannin struck a plea agreement with prosecutors that awarded her immunity for the crimes.

Prosecutors filed a motion to revoke that plea agreement after they say four people came forward with information that she was involved in their murders.

Prosecutors say right now Blanton's plea does not affect the motion.

A hearing is scheduled for Fannin in Johnson County on June 26.



Willie Blanton of Johnson County accepted a plea deal Friday for the murder of his parents.

Willie Blanton, 30, of Oil Springs entered the plea during what was supposed to be a pretrial hearing in Lawrence County.

On February 22, investigators found the bodies of Larry Blanton, 60, and Sandara Blanton, 53, buried near a barn on their farm in Oil Springs in Johnson County.

The couple disappeared in early September 2012. Investigators say they died as a result of blunt force trauma and put their time of death around the time they went missing.

In March, Willie was indicted in Johnson County on two counts of murder, tampering with evidence and being a persistent felony offender.

During Friday’s hearing, Blanton pleaded guilty to all counts of the indictment.

He will be sentenced Monday morning in Johnson County.

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