Anthony, NM (KTSM) — An Anthony, NM mother has been sentenced to twenty-three years in prison for beating her five-year-old daughter to death on Father's Day in 2010. Jessica Barron pleaded guilty to Intentional Child Abuse Resulting in Death and Tampering with Evidence. She was subsequently sentenced to the maximum sentence available by presiding Judge Fernando Macias on Friday, November 15.
Barron fatally beat her 5-year-old daughter on Father's Day 2010, at the time Barron was also caring for her two other children, a 2-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy who is both blind and deaf. Both children were present in the home when the attack occurred. The two-year old told investigators that Barron hit her sister with a stick until she "fell asleep."
Both of Barron's children have since been adopted. The girl, now 6 years old, has been through extensive therapy and has subsequently made significant progress. After discussions with her therapist and adoptive mom, prosecutors determined that it was not in the child's best interest to testify, even in a taped deposition.
The State decided to enter into a plea agreement in exchange for Barron's guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop two third-degree felony charges, which were originated from allegations that she burned the older, disabled child, with a cigarette. Deputy District Attorney Heather Chavez, who represented The Third Judicial District Attorney's office in this case, said "it was not an easy decision and one that was reached only after months of discussion and careful consideration of all of the possible ramifications."
Mark Sanchez, now an Investigator for The Third Judicial District Attorney's Office, at the time of the incident was an Investigator for DASO and was called in on Father's Day, June 20th, 2010 when the incident occurred. Investigator Sanchez stated this was one of the most horrific cases of child abuse he ever worked. Sanchez said there was evidence the young victim had been repeatedly abused but unfortunately, despite being reported to CYFD, the case "fell through the cracks".
Third Judicial District Attorney Mark D'Antonio stated that this was a very tragic example of the importance of reporting and the criticality of thorough investigation in child abuse cases that are reported. "It is the duty of every person in our society to protect children and to be a voice for those who can't speak for themselves. I could not be more proud of the efforts by Deputy District Attorney Heather Chavez, Investigator Mark Sanchez, DASO, and the work of CYFD for being this young girl's voice" said D'Antonio.
If you suspect child abuse in Dona Ana County, you can report your concerns by calling #SAFE (#7233) from a cell phone or 1-855-333-SAFE.