Lonna Barton, the mother of deceased toddler, Lonzie Barton, will be sentenced in Jacksonville this Friday, March 4th. According to an article in the Florida Times Union, she will be sentenced by the judge with a maximum exposure of five years in prison. Ms. Barton entered pleas of guilty to a Duval County felony of child neglect and a misdemeanor charge of giving false information to the police. Her plea agreement included the stipulation that she testify truthfully against her co-defendant Ruben Ebron. Her testimony became unnecessary after she entered her plea agreement because Ebron finally gave his account of what happened and led the JSO to where the child’s body was hidden. Ebron has already been sentenced to twenty years in prison in this Duval criminal case.
The Jacksonville Child Neglect charge is a third degree felony in Florida. To sustain this charge, the prosecutor’s office would have to prove that Ms. Barton willfully, or by culpable negligence by neglecting the child as the child’s caregiver. Neglect is defined as failing to provide the child with care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health. This can include not giving the child the proper food for growth, shelter, clothes, supervision or medicine a reasonable person would feel essential for a healthy child.
The Jacksonville misdemeanor Ms. Barton entered a plea to is giving false information to a law enforcement officer during an investigation. This is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. To prove this charge, the state attorney’s office would have to prove she knowingly and willingly gave false information to law enforcement while they were investigating a felony charge. Intent to mislead the police is a necessary element to this charge.
It will be interesting to see what sentence Ms. Barton does receive at this point in her case. The value that the state attorney’s office believe she had was taken away when her co-defendant confessed on his own and gave the prosecutors and the police what they wanted most, the location of the child. Ebron, in his confession, further incriminated Ms. Barton in the case by telling police they were having sex while the child drown in the bathtub. This leads to further questions about whether or not Ms. Barton knew the child was deceased when she went to work that night.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Child Neglect Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.