A former Mississippi police officer is heading to prison after she pleaded guilty to the 2016 death of her 3-year-old daughter, who was left inside a hot car.
Cassie Barker, 29, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday for manslaughter, a charge that was reduced second-degree murder in a plea deal, CBS News reports.
Barker was indicted last month in her daughter’s death after it was revealed she left the toddler in her patrol car on a hot day so that she could have sex with her then-supervisor, Clark Ladner.
The mom returned after about four hours to find her daughter, Cheyenne Hyer, unresponsive in the car with a temperature of 107 degrees.
Though the air conditioning was turned on, no cool air was blowing.
Cheyenne was later declared dead. According to WLOX, Judge Lawrence Bourgeois told the mother in the courtroom:
“You left your own flesh and blood in that car while you were in an air conditioned house to have sexual relations.”
Now Barker, who is currently pregnant, will give birth to a child while incarcerated.
— Ray Price WLOX (@_RayPrice) April 1, 2019
Her attorney, Damian Holcomb, told the Biloxi Sun Herald that she will put the baby up for adoption when it is born:
“She plans to put the baby up for adoption.
We were told there are a million people who have babies while they are in prison. The way it works is once you are medically cleared (after giving birth), you go back to whatever prison you are supposed to go back to.”
Women who give birth in prison most often have to choose between putting the baby up for adoption or giving them to a family member, according to People.
Some states allow the mother to care for their newborn for some time, but not Mississippi, where Barker is incarcerated.
As of now, the paternity of Barker’s unborn child is unknown.