On July 22, 2020, Codey Barnes, 24, pled guilty to Injury to a Child, a first-degree felony punishable by 5 years up to 99 years or life in prison or deferred adjudication. The case was reset for a sentencing hearing with punishment to be decided by the Court. On September 18, 2020, Judge Phil Grant of the 9th District Court heard evidence from the State and Defense and sentenced the Defendant to 50 years behind bars.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brittany Hansford with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Special Victims Division. Testimony and evidence in the sentencing hearing showed that Codey Barnes called 911 on June 3, 2019, reporting that the child “choked on formula”. When first responders arrived on the scene, the child was pulseless and not breathing. First responders quickly began to render aid to the child and were able to get a pulse back and transport him to Memorial Hermann Hospital in The Woodlands where he was then transferred via life flight downtown to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital for a higher level of care.
At the hospital, the child was found to have brain bleeds and retinal hemorrhages consistent with a shaking event. Detective Donna Rippley and Detective Keith Echols with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were assigned to investigate. During the course of the investigation, evidence began to point to Codey Barnes as the perpetrator. Codey Barnes eventually confessed to detectives that he shook the child. Thankfully, the child survived; however, he will require medical care and follow-up for the foreseeable future to address developmental delays caused by the abuse.
Brittany Hansford, who prosecuted the case said, “I am very thankful for the first responders and medical team that saved this child’s life and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for a thorough investigation. The quick response by Deputy Cody McKee with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office allowed him to begin CPR quickly on this 3-month-old child. The EMTs and Paramedics with the Montgomery County Hospital District provided life-saving measures during transport. The first responders on the scene and the medical team at Memorial Hermann hospital are the reason this child survived. The 50-year sentence in this case is the justice that this child deserves.”
District Attorney Brett Ligon said “I am proud of the lifesaving work of first responders with the Montgomery County Hospital District and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the professional investigation that followed. I am also grateful that the court sent a strong message to child abusers in our county. The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office will continue fighting to keep children in our community safe and will aggressively prosecute those who seek to harm them.”