Louisiana prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a woman who they say ordered her girlfriend to douse her six-year-old son in gasoline and burn him to death.
Prosecutors charged Hanna Nicole Barker, 23, in the July 2018 death of her son, Levi Cole Ellerbe, the Daily Mail reported.
Barker claimed that kidnappers knocked on the door of her Natchitoches, Louisiana, home, sprayed her with pepper spray, then stole her son. Barker also said she called the police right away, but it was less than two hours before police found her son’s burned body lying next to some nearby railroad tracks.
Police claim that Barker’s kidnapping story is a fabrication and that she and her girlfriend, Felicia Marie-Nicole Smith, 26, took the child to the tracks where Barker doused the baby in gas and then ordered Smith to light the child on fire.
The child was still alive when police found his burned body, and he was rushed to a local hospital, but Levi soon died from his injuries. Doctors reported that the boy had second- and third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body.
Police arrested Smith four days later and charged her with first-degree murder. Barker was also arrested several days later and hit with the same charges.
Barker reportedly told police that she was in a sexual relationship with Smith but claimed that Smith was more interested in a permanent relationship than she.
Police also say that Barker admitted to ordering Smith to murder Levi.
Barker had already been on probation for a drug charge, and officials say that having Smith live in her home was a violation of her terms.
Smith will next appear before a judge on August 23, and prosecutors are considering the death penalty for her, as well. Barker’s trial is set for January 13, 2020.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.