Cheyenne Child Murder Case Bound Over for Trial
A 24-year-old Cheyenne man accused of killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old son has been bound over to Laramie County District Court.
John Barrett appeared before Albany County Circuit Court Judge Robert Castor in Cheyenne this (Wednesday) morning.
Barrett is charged with two counts of first-degree murder-commission of a felony, first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, child abuse and aggravated child abuse.
Charging documents allege Barrett "in the perpetration of child abuse" killed C.A.C. "by inflicting lethal physical injury" upon the boy. He's also accused of inflicting "anal intrusion" upon C.A.C.
Cheyenne police were notified of the case on May 22 after C.A.C.'s mother, Cynthia Clark, brought him to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center with extensive bruising on his head, abdomen, buttocks, legs and arms, injuries to his rectum and anus and two black eyes. He was transferred to Children's Hospital Colorado where he died the next day.
Detective James Peterson testified that Clark began having Barrett watch C.A.C. and his twin brother on May 5 as a "temporary measure" until she could resolve a funding issue with the Department of Family Services and the daycare the twins had been attending.
On May 8, C.A.C. ended up with, in Clark's words, "a frickin' huge lump" on his head while in Barrett's care. Peterson said Clark thought they should take C.A.C. to the hospital, but Barrett convinced her not to.
"They gave him some Children's Tylenol and iced it," said Peterson. "C.A.C. ended up with two black eyes which lasted for two weeks."
"She said he did not provide an explanation of how that occurred," Peterson added. "She was concerned if she did take them back to daycare they would perceive it as child abuse and she might lose her children."
Peterson said to explain the black eyes to her mother-in-law -- who she, her 9-year-old daughter and the twins were living with -- Clark told her that she "had fallen on the stairs at Barrett's home with C.A.C."
"She stated it was easier to make up a story to avoid further inquiry by her mother-in-law," said Peterson.
On May 22, Clark dropped the twins off at Barrett's house and went to work. Both her and Barrett say C.A.C. was fine that morning, even "smiling at Barrett and giving him a thumbs up."
Around noon, Barrett reportedly put the twins down for a nap and left to pick up his roommate from work, leaving the twins alone for approximately 30 minutes.
Peterson said when Barrett checked on the boys that afternoon, he noticed that "C.A.C. had vomit on the front of him and was unresponsive." Barrett tried to do the Heimlich and called Clark, who took C.A.C. to the hospital.
"She was basically yelling that he wasn't breathing," said Peterson, adding that CPR was performed in the parking lot.
"CRMC believed he was a victim of child abuse and that he was rectally raped," said Peterson.
C.A.C. died on the evening of May 23 at Children's Hospital Colorado from what hospital staff have described as "non-accidental trauma that resulted in cardiac arrest."
Peterson says the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy noted "C.A.C. had suffered an inter-abdominal blunt force trauma due to an assault" and that "the matter of death was homicide."
Peterson said Barrett "denied ever hitting him in the gut and said maybe he did it to himself."
Barrett was arrested on May 26 after police served a search warrant at his house. Numerous items were seized, including a plastic, bunny-shaped bowling pin that was sent to the Wyoming State Crime Lab.
"Barrett's and C.A.C.'s DNA were on that item," said Peterson, adding that a lab in California found "saliva, vomit and fecal matter" on the bunny.
Peterson said Barrett told him, "I know the truth. If the truth would help me I would tell it to you, but I have nothing else to say."
"The one consistent denominator is John Barrett," said assistant Laramie County District Attorney Ed Buchanan in his closing remarks. "Prior to May 5, nowhere do we find that these children were suspected of being abused."
Barrett's attorney, Brandon Booth, asked the court to dismiss Count II -- which alleges Barrett did, in the perpetration of sexual abuse, kill C.A.C. -- arguing there was "no evidence that sexual assault caused C.A.C.'s death," but Castor found that there was sufficient probable cause to bind all five counts over to District Court.
Barrett continues to be held on a $50,000 cash bond. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.