Mother accused of neglecting daughter sentenced to 50 years for her death

Karen Johnson Harrison enters plea for the Nov. 2018 death of Cyra Harrison
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 12:48 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The mother of a young woman, who suffered from cerebral palsy and died of severe neglect, has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for her Nov. 2018 death.

Karen Johnson Harrison, 50 of Plainview, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and guilty as charged to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder for the death of 25-year-old Cyra Harrison. She was set to go to trial on Tuesday. Harrison’s initial charge was second-degree murder. Charges of cruelty to the infirmed and cruelty to juveniles were dismissed.

Two others, Glen and Marilyn Maricle, are charged alongside Karen Harrison. The arrests of the three came after the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a home where the group lived on Leon Odom Road in the Plainview Community on Nov. 21, 2018 in reference to what was reported as a natural death. The responding deputy found that the living conditions were deplorable and determined the incident needed further investigation. Detectives believed the death was a result of severe intentional neglect.

Judge Chris Hazel sentenced Harrison to 50 years in prison total - 40 for manslaughter and 10 for conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. The sentence will run consecutive.

“In Ms. Harrison’s case, this will be a life sentence,” said Judge Hazel.

After the sentencing, District Attorney Phillip Terrell was joined by Assistant District Attorney Brian Cespiva and the detectives who investigated the case.

“I think it became clear to the defendant that was her only option,” said Terrell. “I want to compliment my two prosecutors and I also want to compliment the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office for the hard work that they’ve done to bring this matter to conclusion and get justice for Cyra Harrison.”

“I can tell you that this is probably the most heinous crime that has ever occurred in Rapides Parish in my opinion,” said Cespiva. “I can’t comment on the specific facts because we still have two more defendants to prosecute.”

Harrison was represented by James Word.

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