Stacey Marie Barker, a 26-year-old Quartz Hill woman accused of killing her 18-month-old toddler, was convicted late yesterday, the District Attorney’s Office announced.
Deputy District Attorney S. Kelly Cromer of the Antelope Valley Branch Office said Barker was convicted of one count each of first-degree murder, assault on a child under eight causing death and child abuse. Jurors, who deliberated for one day, also found true an allegation of great bodily injury.
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Judge Hayden Zacky said Barker will be sentenced on June 17 in Department A17 of Antelope Valley Superior Court. The defendant faces a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
On March 18, 2009, Barker told authorities that she had been knocked unconscious and possibly raped at a Lancaster city park by a so-called assailant who proceeded to abduct her daughter, Emma. In response, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies launched a 12-hour manhunt for the child.
When mobile phone records revealed that Barker had been driving in the Los Angeles area at the time of the alleged attack, the defendant confessed that the child was dead and led detectives to her body. Barker had dumped her daughter’s body in a Sylmar lot overrun with weeds, the prosecutor said.
Though Barker alleged that the child’s death was accidental, evidence presented at trial revealed injuries consistent with suffocation caused by a hand being placed over the girl’s nose and mouth. Forensic reports further showed that the child had been dead for several hours before the defendant disposed of her body.
Barker, who testified in her defense at trial, later went on to admit to authorities that she fabricated the first story and that her injuries – including contusions to her head and ribs, scrapes to her hand and injuries to her genital area – were self-inflicted.