Give it up already Chappell, you know who took and killed your little girl, so just open your mouth and let the words flow into the nice policeman's ear. You will feel so much better.
Birmingham, AL -- Sept. 9, 1999 -- The mother of Peggy Chappell should go to prison for refusing to help authorities find her killer, a prosecutor has said.
Katie Chappell knows the man who coaxed her little blue-eyed girl into his van on Thanksgiving Day six years ago, and knows why he took her, said Assistant District Attorney Mike Anderton. She even knows, he said, that the man had taken Peggy before.
"She's made the statement...'He'd always brought her (Peggy) back before,'" Anderton said. "I don't know if she's trying to cover up for someone else or herself. But she's kept quiet for six years and refused to cooperate."
Peggy was last seen alive getting into a van or Chevy Blazer with a man. Her nude body was found the next day, wrapped in a beach towel and stuffed inside a garbage can. Her skull was smashed. Her throat was cut, and her back, arms, left buttock and legs were battered.
Authorities have long pleaded with Chappell to tell them what she knows, but Chappell pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and did not say what she knows, if anything, about one of the city's most notorious child murders.
"I think she belongs in jail," Anderton said. "We've still got a killer wandering around out there who could easily pick up another child."
Chappell, whose statements to police have changed over the years, still maintains her innocence. She pleaded guilty, her attorney said, only because she felt it was in her best interest to do so.
"She didn't want to face a possible jail sentence," he said. "I think the chances are very good she'll get probation."
Chappell entered the guilty plea without cutting any deal, which means when she will be sentenced without an assurance of her freedom. The judge, however, told Chappell that if he doesn't give her probation he will allow her to withdraw her guilty plea.
Had the case gone to trail, Anderton said he would have presented witnesses who would testify that Chappell spoke to the man who put Peggy in his vehicle and that she was nearby when the vehicle left.
"She made statements to police indicating she saw the guy pick Peggy up," Anderton said, "She has also said she knew the tag number but that it wouldn't benefit her to tell anybody."
But her attorney said there would have been a lot of conflicting testimony and holes in the prosecution's case.
Either way, Chappell's plea doesn't answer the question of who killed Peggy and why. Police say the investigation is still active and authorities hope her plea might eventually yield more information.
"At least she's taken responsibility for what she's done," Anderton said. "At this point, I would love for her to give us the information she's got."
Authorities said they are confident the truth will surface eventually and the killer will be caught. "Something is going to happen and that jerk is going to make a mistake," Anderton said.
Nov. 3, 2000 -- Katie Chappell was sentenced to prison for three years and will serve five years of probation after her release.
In 1994 authorities charged Chappell with hindering prosecution. She pleaded guilty to the crime in 1999.
She was sentenced to 10 years in prison but Circuit Judge James Garrett reduced the term to five years of probation on the condition that she cooperate fully with police to find the killer. Chappell talked twice to police and FBI investigators after her plea.
Last spring, Prosecutor Mike Anderton told Garrett that Chappell was not cooperating and asked the judge to revoke her probation.
In September, Garrett said Chappell violated her probation and sent her to county jail. The judge then revoked her probation after testimony from a detective handling the case.
Sgt. John Ennis told the judge that he met with Chappell and when he attempted to talk to her, she invoked her right to have her lawyer present. Under state law, Ennis was obligated to end the meeting.
Garrett issued a split sentence -- Chappell will spend three years in prison and serve five years of probation after that. However, Garrett will maintain jurisdiction over the case and consider any changes in circumstances.
Anderton said Chappell's trip to prison does not close the case. He said authorities continue to work on various leads.
"This is a sad chapter...when a woman with a child will not help the police catch the killer of her child," Anderton said. "I hesitate to use the word mother because I don't think that a mother will act like she's acting."