Cassie Barker, a former Mississippi police officer whose young daughter died of heat stroke while she had sex and then fell asleep, pleaded guilty this week to manslaughter, The Hattiesburg American is reporting.
As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, back in October of 2016, Barker — then 27 — was arrested after the death of her three-year-old daughter, Cheyenne. The young lass had died of heat stroke the previous day, strapped into her car seat as her body temperature reached 107 degrees. Authorities say that the air conditioner was on, but that it wasn’t blowing cold air.
Barker would later tell authorities that she and her supervisor, Sgt. Clark Ladner, went to Ladner’s house to discuss work. She claimed at the time that she fell asleep at Ladner’s house — supposedly having forgotten about Cheyenne — and that when she woke up, she frantically ran to the car to retrieve her daughter. Cheyenne was airlifted to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. Barker was charged with manslaughter.
Ladner, for his part, was fired from his job. However, he did not face any criminal charges, since authorities did not and do not believe he had any knowledge about Cheyenne being locked in a car.
In a November of 2016 court appearance, as reported at the time by The Daily Mail, Barker pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. She was later indicted on a second-degree murder charge, but was offered a plea bargain — a plea bargain which required her to plead guilty to manslaughter, which she did this week.
Speaking to a judge on Monday, Barker revealed that her initial story about falling asleep at her supervisor’s house after discussing work wasn’t actually what happened on the day that Cheyenne died. Instead, Barker admitted that she and her supervisor had sex, and then she fell asleep — as Cheyenne was dying.
Barker is scheduled to be sentenced in a couple of weeks, giving Harrison County Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois time to consider Barker’s case before deciding what punishment to hand down. He seems, based on his statements, disinclined to give her a lengthy prison sentence.
“I don’t know what I could ever do to you that could be worse than what you’ve already experienced… You will forever be entombed in a prison of your own mind.”
Meanwhile, Cheyenne’s father, Ryan Hyer, doesn’t believe that any prison sentence is going to bring his daughter back.
“Every time I close my eyes, I picture her suffering and then I picture her laying in this coffin. I still see her smiling and laughing in my head and I would assume that smile and laughter turned to pain and suffering in that instance.”
Barker is scheduled to be sentenced on April 1.