Mother Charged With Son's Death Enters Plea

It was supposed to be the start of a trial, but instead Monday marked the end of the case against a mother, charged in the death of her young son.

Toni Barber entered a tearful guilty plea Monday morning in a Fleming County courtroom, but still claims she didn't mean to leave her 18-month- old in a hot van.

In August of 2006, Barber found her two children inside the family's van. Barber's 18 month-old son Caleb died from being trapped in the hot vehicle.

In court, she confessed before a judge what happened the in hours before the two children were found in the August heat.

Barber avoided a jury trial and entered an Alford Plea to the manslaughter and criminal abuse charges she faced in the death of her son. Under an Alford Plea, the defendant maintains innocence, but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict them.

Prosecutors say Barber neglected her children by leaving them in van, but the mother told the judge she took six Zanex tablets, causing her to forget about the boy and girl

"I doubled up on my medicine and the kids were in my car and that's the results," said Barber. She told the judge she took the medicine for panic attacks.

The children's father and paternal grandparents sat in court as Barber enter the plea. Steve Davis now has a new baby girl but he says his son can never be replaced. He didn't comment on the case as he left court.

Davis is still fighting to get permanent custody of he and Barber's now three-year-old daughter.

With this plea, Barber will spend about 7 years in prison. If convicted by a jury, she could have faced 10-15 years behind bars. She's due back in court on December 5th for formal sentencing.

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