Additional reporting by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities man has pleaded guilty to intentional murder in the second-degree in the death of his 10-year-old son, whose body was found back in March in the Mississippi River.
Pierre Collins, 33, entered his plea Monday morning in Hennepin County. He had been accused in April of killing his son, Barway, and charged with second-degree murder.
“I killed my son,” he said in court.
He was later sentenced to the maximum possible sentence: 40 years in prison.
Collins said he arrived home the day Barway was reported missing and found the boy outside playing, which he was not supposed to be doing because he was supposed to be inside after school.
He said he hit the boy, who fell to the ground and became unresponsive. Collins said he was scared of what would happen and took the boy to the river. He said he acted alone when he duct taped the boy’s limbs and threw him in the water.
Back in June, a grand jury also indicted Collins on a first-degree murder charge, saying he caused Barway’s death and that it was premeditated. Investigators said he killed his son for insurance money.
That first-degree murder charge was dropped Monday as part of the guilty plea.
There were three factors that contributed to the severity of the sentence: the victim’s vulnerability, as he was only 10 years old; the abuse of position of authority; and the concealment of the body.
Barway’s body was found weeks after his disappearance. Police found a knife near the body. Police said surveillance video and cellphone recordings helped link Collins to the crime scene.
Barway’s biological mother, Louise Karluah, was in court. When Collins said, “I killed my son,” Karluah started screaming and crying out loud. She tried to make a victim impact statement but was too emotional. Someone took over for her and said that Karluah was broken and lost.
Collins has been taking anxiety and sleep medication in prison. He also became emotional in court.
“I would like everybody in the community to forgive me,” he said.
Judge Tanya Bransford said what he did was “unimaginable” and “inconceivable.” She said the only silver lining was that the family would now be spared a trial.
Hennepin County records show Collins had been investigated for the abuse of his four other children two years before Barway disappeared. Collins’ ex-wife won custody of the children, but Barway and another child remained in his home.