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Mayfield pleads guilty, avoids trial in vehicular homicide cases
Aug 23, 2012 12:00 am
The woman accused of driving drunk and causing the deaths of two people in a car wreck July 29, 2011, decided to avoid a trial and pled guilty Monday.
Barbara A. Mayfield, 45, of Lebanon, was scheduled to go on trial Tuesday morning on two counts of vehicular homicide, one count of driving under the influence — second offense and driving on a revoked license.
Mayfield had multiple DUI arrests under her belt when the 2011 accident occurred. In July 2011 Lebanon Police determined that Mayfield was again drunk when she crashed into a car on East High Street in Lebanon, killing 4-year-old, Alton B. Barrett and his 69-year-old grandfather, James A. Barrett in a four-car crash. Another man, Ronnie Boyd, also in the vehicle with the Barretts, was critically injured in the accident as well. During the investigation, the LPD determined Mayfield’s blood alcohol level was .25, which is three times the legal limit.
At the time of the deadly crash, Mayfield was driving on a revoked license due to a driving under the influence conviction stemming from an April 19, 2011 incident in Wilson County. After that DUI conviction, she was arrested again on June 11, 2011 for DUI, driving on a revoked license, resisting arrest and for violating her probation. June 21, 2011, Mayfield was arrested yet again for violating her probation. She was out on bond at the time of the July 29, 2011 crash.
When Mayfield appeared in court the first time to answer to these charges, security was tight as the victims' family came to court to get a look at the woman accused of killing their loved ones. At that time, Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe said his office had received word that there had been threats made against Mayfield's life, threats his office took seriously. Mayfield has been in the Wilson County Jail since her last arrest.
15th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney James (Jimmy) Lea Jr. said his office had been preparing for the trial for quite a while and he was surprised Mayfield opted to plead to the charges.
"She came in yesterday morning and pled to everything," Lea said. "She had a nine count indictment. The actual charges she pled to were aggravated vehicular homicide, times two; vehicular assault; DUI, third offense; and driving on a revoked license, second offense. The two counts of vehicular homicide merge into aggravated vehicular homicide and there were two counts that are administrative counts that are list of prior offenses. She will be sentenced Oct. 16 at 9 a.m."
Lea said at no time did the District Attorney's office consider offering Mayfield a plea deal.
"We were certainly ready to go to trial," he said. "We've been working with all our people — the investigators, the family and the witnesses. We did not make an offer and we would never make an offer in that kind of case, so we were very much surprised when she decided to plead guilty."
He noted that the best part of avoiding a trial is that the victims' family didn't have to sit and court and listen to the details of how they died. Lea added that his office was able to contact family members so they could witness the pleading.
"We're happy for the family so they didn't have to go through it," he said. "We were able to call them all in so they were able to be there."
In a case like this, there are no winners, only survivors.
"It's a bad thing for everyone," Lea concluded.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org