The 30-year-old mother said she was sorry for what happened and she was ready for her punishment.
Barron had been set to stand trial Dec. 2. Her sentence resulted from a plea agreement with prosecutors.
As part of the agreement, prosecutors dropped two other child abuse charges against Barron. They stemmed from allegations that she burned her older, disabled son with a cigarette.
Jessica Barron, 27, of Anthony, N.M., was charged with intentional child abuse resulting in death. Doña Ana County sheriff’s officials wouldn’t comment on the circumstances surrounding the girl’s death.
The Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque will perform an autopsy at a time yet to be determined.
LAS CRUCES – A 5-year-old Anthony girl has succumbed to injuries police say she received at the hands of her mother.
Angel – whose last name is unknown – was bruised back and front and head to toe, had suffered bleeding inside her brain and had at least one broken rib when she was brought, unconscious, to Providence Hospital in El Paso on Sunday, according to District Attorney Susana Martinez.
The little girl’s wounds also included more than a dozen puncture wounds, what appeared to be a human bite mark on her ankle and scratch marks on her chest, Martinez said. For several days, Angel remained in a coma, in critical condition as doctors tried – unsuccessfully – to relieve the pressure caused by the bleeding in her brain. On Thursday, Angel was removed from life support when her brain activity ceased, Martinez said.
Jessica Barron, 27, remains incarcerated at the Do-a Ana County Detention Center with a bond – increased late Thursday evening by Magistrate Judge Joseph Guillory – set at $100,000 cash.
Barron will be charged today with intentional child abuse resulting in death, conviction on which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. She had also previously been charged with tampering with evidence in the case.
The alleged abuse bears a visceral similarity with that in the case of Baby Brianna Lopez, who died July 19, 2002, covered in bruises and 15 human bite marks, after having been raped, her skull fractured in two places, her ribs, legs and an arm broken.
But Martinez cautioned against a comparison.
“Brianna was worse because she was five and a half months, had multiple broken bones and, the evidence was clear, she was abused her entire life,” she said, adding after a long pause, “You really can’t compare one with another. They’re both dead – and unnecessarily so. Two young lives were ended, unnecessarily and brutally.”
Authorities were called to the hospital soon after Angel arrived Sunday and subsequently arrested Angel’s mother, who had remained at home on Par Two Lane in Anthony, N.M. An ambulance hadn’t been called until the father of Barron’s youngest daughter, had taken Angel to the home of his grown daughter, who immediately called 911, Martinez said.
Barron’s two other children, Angel’s older brother and her younger half-sister, were immediately taken into state custody Sunday.
It is unclear whether others will be criminally charged in Angel’s death. Investigators expect to discover the full extent of Angel’s injuries when her body is transported to Albuquerque for autopsy today.
“We know that the healing of the bruises were at different stages,” Martinez said. “She had a broken (shinbone) within the last year. It was a spiral fracture. It certainly raises a red flag.”
Sheriff’s investigators plan to hold a news conference on the case today.
The investigation into Angel’s alleged abuse and death is ongoing. Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to call DASO Investigator Mark Sanchez at (575) 525-1911.
11/15/2013 06:47:23 PM MST
Anthony woman admits to fatally beating 5-year-old, receives prison sentence
LAS CRUCES >> An Anthony, N.M., woman admitted in court Friday that she savagely beat her young daughter on Father’s Day 2010, causing such severe injuries that the 5-year-old died.
“I’m sorry for what happened,” 30-year-old Jessica Barron said as she wept. “I’m ready to accept my punishment.”
That came moments later, when Barron received 23 years in prison from Third Judicial District Judge Fernando Macias.
Barron, a native El Pasoan who also uses the last name Palacios, had been set for trial Dec. 2.
Through her attorney, she initiated plea negotiations, prosecutor Heather Chavez said afterward — that process typically starts with the district attorney’s office.
Barron’s main charge, intentional child abuse resulting in death, is a first-degree felony carrying a mandatory 18-year sentence. When it involves a victim under age 12, Chavez said, the mandatory sentence is enhanced to life in prison. In New Mexico that means 30 years without a chance at parole.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to disregard the age of the victim, Angel Lorraine Jimenez. Prosecutors also dropped two third-degree felony child abuse charges against Barron, stemming from allegations that she burned her older, disabled son with a cigarette.
As a result, Macias sentenced Barron to the maximum sentence available. Most of that is 18 years for intentional child abuse resulting in death. Additionally, there are three years for evidence tampering — officials say Barron had somebody clean up blood — and two years because she’s a habitual offender. Barron admitted Friday that she had a felony marijuana possession conviction in 2001 in El Paso.
Chavez said officials made the decision to accept the plea deal, after lengthy negotiations, because of issues in proving Barron was capable of forming “specific intent.” During Friday’s proceeding, Barron’s attorney Gary Mitchell said Barron was on methamphetamine and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the beating. She also has some diminished capacity, he said.
Barron developed PTSD, Mitchell said, because she grew up with a mother who associated with drug traffickers. As a teenager, her mother “gave” Barron to an older man to pay a debt, Mitchell said. During that time, she raised her older brothers.
Chavez said the lack of witnesses, which officials say can be common in child abuse cases, was another factor.
Along with Barron and her daughter, the only other people in the mobile home that June 2010 day were her other children: a 2-year-old and the disabled 9-year-old, who is blind and deaf.
The toddler reportedly had told Doña Ana County Sheriff’s investigators that Barron beat her sister with a stick till Angel “fell asleep.”
The girl and her half-brother have since been adopted, Chavez said. Now 6, the girl has been through significant therapy, Chavez said, and has shown marked improvement. Chavez said, after talks with therapists and adoptive parents, they didn’t consider it appropriate to have the girl testify, even by taped deposition, due to that progress.
“It was not an easy decision,” Chavez said.
Mark Sanchez, an investigator with the DA’s office, was with DASO at the time of beating death. He investigated the case and said there was evidence Angel was victim of repeated abuse but unfortunately “fell through the cracks.”
There had been previous complaints, he said, but none were substantiated.
Authorities said Angel’s body was spotted with bruises and puncture wounds, apparently from a nail protruding from a wall inside the family’s trailer. She also had a bite mark and a massive head injury, apparently suffered June 20, 2010.
Angel died four days later, when family removed her from life support at an El Paso hospital.