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Mayfield sentenced to 50 years in prison
Oct 17, 2012 3:50 pm
A Lebanon woman who pleaded guilty to driving drunk and killing a 4-year-old boy and his grandfather in a July 29, 2011 collision learned her fate on Tuesday.
Judge John Wooten sentenced Barbara A. Mayfield, 45, to 50 years in prison Tuesday in Wilson County Criminal Court.
In August, Mayfield was scheduled to go on trial on two counts of vehicular homicide, one count of vehicular assault, one count of driving under the influence - second offense and driving on a revoked license when she opted to plead guilty to those charges.
Mayfield had multiple DUI arrests under her belt when the 2011 accident happened. In July 2011, Lebanon police determined 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.
During the investigation, the officers 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. Mayfield was arrested yet again June 21, 2011 for violating her probation. She was out on bond at the time of the July 29, 2011 crash.
On Tuesday, defense attorney Adam Parrish attempted to convince the court that his client, in addition to being an untreated alcoholic, was also the victim of seizures. As he questioned the state's witness, Christina Smith from the state Department of Probation and Parole, about Mayfield and established that Mayfield was on seizure medication at the time of the crash, but was not taking her meds as prescribed.
Parrish also said Mayfield dropped out of school in eighth-grade, was married at 14 and had her first child at 15. He told the court Mayfield began drinking at age 13 and "alcohol was a recurring theme in her life."
The state then called to the stand Christopher Burton and Billy Anderson, who were both sitting in their vehicles at the same traffic light on East High Street when the crash happened. Burton said he was in his work truck when he was rear ended.
"It was awful, really, really awful," he said, adding that when he got out of his truck he saw the extent of the carnage. "It was just a disaster."
Burton said he spent two nights in the hospital and was forced to begin taking pills for the depression he suffered after the crash.
"To this day, I can't sleep without pills," Burton said.
Anderson said he received cuts and bruises from the crash. He said the worst part for him was how the incident affected his nerves.
"I can't hardly drive now, I'm so nervous," he said.
The prosecution then called Lebanon Det. Chad Jones to the stand, where he testified the court-ordered ankle monitor Mayfield was wearing at the time of the crash was covered in duct tape.
Shane Barrett led a flurry of emotions throughout the courtroom as he read his and other family members' victim impact statements to the court, describing how they feel and how the crash has changed their lives. All the statements had one theme - that two innocent people died and another was paralyzed for life "due to her careless decisions."
Barrett then read the statement from his mother, Judith Barrett, who lost her husband and grandson. Her statement read, in part, "This brought us such devastation, in an instant they were gone." With that Shane Barrett, the rest of the victims' families, and even some of the court workers were in tears. Given the emotional atmosphere, the judge granted a 10-minute recess, with deputies standing between Mayfield and the audience in case emotion got the better of any spectators.
Following the recess, Parrish began his defense by calling Mayfield, handcuffed and shackled, to the stand. He questioned her about what happened when she was taken to jail, where she has been since the accident.
Mayfield, who punctuated every response with "right?," said that she was immediately put on suicide watch. She also said she had been on anti-seizure medication and antidepressants before the accident. She said when she had a seizure "you don't know nothing," and "you're out."
"We're not saying you didn't have alcohol in your system, but you did have a seizure that day," Parrish said. Mayfield agreed.
Mayfield also maintained that the duct tape on the ankle monitor was not an attempt to beat the device and drink undetected, but was there because the ankle monitor was rubbing against a pin in her ankle and causing her pain.
Parrish then asked her who was responsible for the crash.
"I'm responsible. Not a day goes by that I don't think about the family. It never goes away," she said. "I'm so sorry for their pain. If I could bring them back I would. I'd gladly take their place. I didn't mean to hurt nobody."
District Attorney Howard Chambers moved to cross examine Mayfield and questioned her statement she had a seizure the day of the crash.
"I'm confused," Chambers said. "You think you had a seizure?"
Mayfield said she had told officers "right off" that she had had a seizure. Chambers also questioned her statement that she had "two beers" before driving that day given her blood alcohol level. He also said two days after the crash Mayfield has said in a statement she was driving at "15 to 20 mph" and that the vehicles in front of her "stopped too fast and you couldn't stop." He then entered into evidence a photo of the victims' car.
"You said you were going 15 to 20 mph when you thought you had a chance to beat the rap," Chambers said.
During the summations, both sides argued whether her offenses met the level to have her serve her sentences concurrently or consecutively. Parrish argued regardless of how terrible the crimes she was charged with, they all happened during the commission of one act, and that that should reduce her sentence.
"It was a single incident in time," Parrish told the judge. "It all happened within a fraction of a second."
Assistant District Attorney James Lea Jr. maintained Mayfield had voluntarily used an intoxicant and her record proves that she was, and is, a danger to the public.
"Now two people are dead and two are severely hurt," he told the judge, noting her record of driving under the influence.
Before the sentence was handed down, Boyd, who was paralyzed as a result of the crash and who was in the courtroom in a wheelchair, had what relatives said was a seizure and had to be taken to the hospital.
Wooten then began his sentencing showing a photo of the mangled car.
"This was not an accident; this was a violent collision," he said, citing Mayfield's blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash and adding that her car was "thousands of pounds hurtling down the road in the middle of the day."
Wooten then moved on to enhancing and mitigating conditions for the defendant.
He found that Mayfield was not suffering from a "mental or physical condition" that explained her behavior, that she had voluntarily used intoxicants that day and that she was being "disingenuous" with the court when she claimed she had only drank two beers.
Wooten concluded that the only factor in Mayfield's favor was that she had pleaded guilty, thus sparing the victims' families the pain of a trial and the state the cost of one.
As for facts that would enhance her sentence, Wooten said Mayfield had an obliviously lengthly history of criminal behavior and convictions for DUI and public intoxication that outweighed any mitigating factors. He found that there was more than one victim to her crime and she had a previous history of unwillingness to comply with the terms of her release citing her attempt to tamper with her ankle monitor.
"The enhancing factors outweigh any semblance of a mitigating factor," Wooten said.
With that, he handed down a sentence of four years for the vehicular assault charge, 11 months and 29 days each for the DUI charge and the driving on a revoked license charges, and 23 years each on the of vehicular homicide charges. Only the DUI and revoked license charges were to be served concurrently, with the rest to be served consecutively, totaling 50 years behind bars. Mayfield will be eligible to be considered for parole in 15 years.
As the teary-eyed families of the victims were leaving the courtroom, a man who described himself as "part of the Mayfield family" stopped them to "extend our apologies." Those apologies were accepted.
Selesa Barrett was wiping her tears as she exited the courtroom.
"I'm pretty satisfied with the sentence," she said.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.