A Charlottesville woman guilty of child neglect that ended in the death of a baby will serve no jail time.
Thursday, February 15, a judge sentenced 40-year-old Karen Monique Barnes to 3 years behind bars, which was suspended, and 5 years good behavior.
Despite asking for a higher sentence, the prosecution says it understands the judge's decision.
Barnes was in charge of 2-month-old Marchella Alexander Junior's care while the mother, Shauntia Alexander, served a short jail sentence. Social workers had stated the infant's father, 30-year-old Marchella Alexander Senior, was not to be left alone with his son.
However, police say the father was present at the time of the infant’s death in August 2016, but Barnes was not.
Barnes later entered a guilty plea to one count of child abuse. She admitted to leaving the infant alone with his father, who was reportedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time.
Investigators were not able to determine with absolute certainty how Marchella died. Prosecutors claimed that during a jailhouse phone conversation Alexander Sr. said that he may have, "smothered" Marchella, and "tucked him too tight."
Prosecutors originally asked for Barnes to serve a 5-year jail sentence with 4 years and 6 months suspended.
"Neither Ms. Barnes nor Marchella Alexander Senior nor any one intended or wanted what happened. So the court received the circumstances and we certainly respect and understand the judgement of the court,” said Elizabeth Humphries with the Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney’s Office.
Six people testified Thursday, most of them were friends and family who said Barnes is a "caring, good woman" and a good babysitter.
Shauntia Alexander told the court how Marchella’s death has ripped her apart. She also stated that she has still not gotten an apology from Barnes.
Alexander Sr. pleaded guilty to one felony count of child endangerment was given a 5-year suspended sentence.
Update: Charlottesville Judge Suspends Jail Time for Karen BarnesMore>>