Pierre Collins has entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder in the death of his 10-year-old son, Barway Collins. The Crystal, Minn. father was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in June, but accepted a plea deal on the lesser charge that carries a sentence of 40 years in prison.
"I am guilty because I killed my son," Collins told the judge.
Barway Collins was last seen alive on the afternoon of March 18, when he exited a school transportation van in front of the Cedarwood Apartments in Crystal, Minn. His body was recovered 24 days later from the Mississippi River in north Minneapolis. When Barway's body was recovered from the river, his feet were bound together with duct tape and a piece of tape was wrapped around his torso.
Collins said that on March 18 he was disciplining his son after school, then accidentally struck him too hard. Realizing Barway was dead, the cover-up and dumping of the body ensued. Collins said he acted alone.
“I forgive Pierre, so does Barway,” said Louise Karluah, the boy’s biological mother.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said prosecutors had good circumstantial evidence against Collins if the case were to go to trial. Freeman added that he’s still unsure with Collins’ motive in killing Barway.
Pierre Collins will have to serve at least 320 months of his 40-year sentence. He will be eligible for as many as 160 months of supervised release, contingent upon his behavior. Collins will also get credit for 113 days already served in jail.
"Today is the culmination of our search for justice for Barway Collins," Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering said in a statement. "For weeks we searched for Barway hoping to bring him home safe but knowing that someone close to him was likely responsible for his disappearance. Once found, investigators faced the grim reality that a father could take the life of an innocent child. This innocent boy, and his own words of excitement in seeing his father, would help investigators identify his killer. We can never bring him back but today we can finally close this case knowing that we found justice for Barway."