BLOUNTVILLE — A Kingsport woman has pleaded guilty to facilitation of murder and child neglect in the 2005 beating death of her toddler son in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence.
Heather Collins, 24, was originally charged with second-degree murder and aggravated child neglect, both Class A felonies, in the death of her 2-year-old son. She pleaded guilty to the lesser Class B felonies of facilitation of those same offenses Thursday afternoon in Sullivan County Circuit Court. Her 30-year prison sentence requires service of 60 percent of 20 years in count one and at least 30 percent of a consecutive 10-year sentence in count two. She was also fined $1,000.
Collins was arrested in January 2010. A warrant had been issued for her arrest after a Sullivan County grand jury handed down sealed indictments against her on Jan. 12, 2010. Her arrest occurred shortly after her former boyfriend, Shawn Mullins, 27, entered best-interest pleas to second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence with 100 percent service in November 2009.
Mullins was 22 on March 30, 2005, the day Collins, then 18, found her young son unresponsive at a friend’s home on Robin Lane where the couple had been staying. At the time, Mullins had been left alone with the boy for about two hours, according to investigators. Reportedly suffering from cardiac arrest, the toddler was rushed to a local hospital, where he later died.
Prior to the boy’s death, Mullins and Collins had been scheduled to meet with a Department of Children’s Services worker on April 2, 2005, to discuss allegations of child abuse. Those complaints were filed with the Kingsport Police Department in February and March of that year by family of the boy’s father.
Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Detective Lt. Bobby Russell told the Times-News in 2005 that the boy had been beaten repeatedly, suffering multiple broken bones and bruises that were in various stages of healing.