Monday, May 11, 2009

Stacey Barker Pleads Not Guilty to Charge of Murdering Her Daughter Emma And Not Guilty To Allegations Of Special Circumstances

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Stacey Barker in court
Stacey Barker pleaded Not Guilty today to murder in the death of her 18-month-old daughter, Emma, whom she initially claimed was taken from her in a violent kidnapping. Along with murder, Stacey Marie Barker is accused of one count each of assault on a child causing death and child abuse. Through her lawyer Barker also pled Not Guilty to the allegations of Special Circumstances.

Deputies allege the 24-year-old woman initially lied to investigators about the circumstances of her toddler's death. She told sheriff's deputies that someone knocked her out as she was putting her daughter into a car seat in Lancaster on the evening of March 19, and that she awoke hours later at a park-and-ride lot in Palmdale.

Barker allegedly inflicted wounds to her head, partially undressed and faked semi-consciousness in an attempt to mislead deputies.Under questioning, she later told deputies that her daughter, Emma Leigh, died in an unspecified accident and said she panicked and dumped the body, according to the sheriff's department.

Investigators recovered the toddler's body in a yard in the 13000 block of El Dorado Avenue in Sylmar, CA. Coroner's officials have not yet issued a final report on how the girl died but sheriff's detectives suspect she was suffocated, a Sheriff's Department spokesman said Monday. "Detectives believe that based on interviews and the condition of the victim that she likely suffocated," Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

The maximum penalty Barker faces is 25 years to life in prison, Deputy District Attorney Kelly Cromer said. Sheriff's officials never disclosed what sort of accident Barker said killed her daughter. She is due back at the Antelope Valley Courthouse in Lancaster, CA on June 15, when a date is scheduled to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require her to stand trial.

Barker is being housed in the Century Regional Detention Facility in the city of Lynwood on
$1 million bail.

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