A Louisiana woman behind bars for the death of her 6-month-old allegedly told her girlfriend to burn the boy to death, according to prosecutors.
Town Talk of Alexandria reports that Hannah Barker is being held without bond after a judge rules there is probable cause to charge her with “principal to first-degree murder” in connection with death of her infant son, Levi Cole Ellerbe. Her reported girlfriend, Felicia Marie-Nicole Smith, is also being held without bond, charged with first-degree murder.
According to the Region 5 supervisor of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, Lt. Jeremy Swisher, the two suspects were in an “intimate, sexual relationship” with each other, although Barker reportedly claimed she was using her co-defendant for money and attention.
Swisher said Barker approached Smith at a local IHOP restaurant in Natchitoches and said “if she loved her and if she would do anything for her, even if it meant going to jail.” Barker then allegedly asked Smith to kill her baby boy. Smith reportedly refused at first but changed her mind shortly after.
Initially, Smith tried to shoot Levi, according to Swisher, but the gun jammed. Barker then ordered her to burn the baby “until he was bones,” which would “get rid of evidence.”
The only possible motive alluded to so far was an alleged comment Barker made in court about her difficult times being a single parent. Barker’s attorney argued that the only person with a motive was Smith, who was upset after Barker broke up with her.
Swisher said several people who were interviewed called Barker a “compulsive liar,” while others said they weren’t surprised that she may involved with the baby’s death.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, On July 17, Barker called police and said she was the mother of Levi. She claimed two unknown men knocked on the door of her home at around 9 p.m. and when she answered, they began spraying her in the face with what she thought was mace.
In a reported panic, Barker said she ran away, leaving Levi inside the residence. She stated she thought the attackers were after her and not the baby, although she said she had never seen the men before.
The description of the two reported men was never released.
Shortly after the baby was reported missing, law enforcement agencies, including Natchitoches PD, Louisiana State Police, Northwestern State University Police Department, and the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office began searching the area for the Levi. They discovered the baby with severe burns on his body a little after 10:20 p.m. on July 17, close to railroad tracks near Breda Avenue, a few blocks from his home.
Authorities rushed Levi to a local medical center. He was later airlifted to University Health in Shreveport, where he died hours later. Swisher said the boy had burns on over 90% of his body.
Swisher testified that the crime scene at the trailer was “staged,” with a back window smashed but not completely broken. He also indicated that authorities traced blood and fingerprints on the window back to Smith. Further, he said no mace was detected inside the trailer or on Barker’s face.
Swisher also said Barker tried to blame the baby’s father, Billy Ellerbe, but changed her story when it was determined he had a strong alibi.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Levi Ellerbe/Facebook]