A Louisiana mother accused in the burning death of her 6-month-old son will await her 2020 murder trial behind bars as her probation was revoked on Monday.
Hanna Nicole Barker, 23, was arraigned on first-degree murder charges in connection with the July 18 death of her son, Levi Cole Ellerbe. The Alexandria Town Talk reported that Ellerbe was found in a Natchitoches ditch following reports of a fire. He died hours later, reportedly suffering second- and third-degree burns to more than 90 percent of his body.
Barker was sentenced to five years in jail after a court learned she violated the probation, which was granted to her after she pleaded guilty to possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia in 2016. Probation officer Joe Black testified Monday that Barker fled to Texas days after her acceptance into drug court and kept multiple unauthorized relationships with other drug court clients, according to the Town Talk.
Black testified that Barker violated the terms of her probation by having Felicia Marie-Nicole Smith, 26, in her home. Smith was indicted on a first-degree murder charge for allegedly lighting the infant on fire. The newspaper reported that she’s currently awaiting arraignment.
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, according to authorities. She stated she thought the attackers were after her and not the baby, although she said she had never seen the men before. She claimed that when she returned to the trailer, she couldn’t find the baby.
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 ultimately passed away.
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.
Prosecutors accused Smith of taking Ellerbe to a nearby ditch, dousing him in gasoline, and lighting him ablaze before going to her shift at IHOP.
Police officials claimed the pair were in a romantic relationship. They suspect Barker asked Smith to kill her son and that Barker was only involved with Smith for money and attention.
Barker has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. Her trial is scheduled to begin on January 13, 2020.
[Featured Image: Hanna Barker, Levi Cole Ellerbe/KLFY]