Natchitoches DA to seek death penalty for mother of baby burned to death


NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Natchitoches District Attorney’s Office has confirmed the state’s intention to seek the death penalty in the case against a woman accused of burning her son to death.

Hanna Nicole Barker, 25, was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in November 2018. A second woman, 27-year-old Felicia Smith, is also facing a first-degree murder charge.

Felicia Smith, 27, is charged with first-degree murder in the burning death of 6-month-old Levi Cole Ellerbe of Natchitoches. (Source: Natchitoches Police Department)

The body of Barker’s 6-month-old son, Levi Cole Ellerbe, was found on July 18, 2018 off Breda Ave. after officers got a call about a fire. The infant was taken to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with second- and third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body. He and later airlifted to a hospital in Shreveport, where he died from his injuries.

Barker, who officials have said was in a relationship with Smith, is accused of asking Smith to kill the baby. According to the indictment, Smith said she took the baby from Barker’s home, poured gasoline on him and sent him on fire before going to work.

Barker initially claimed the baby had been kidnapped from her home in the Mayberry Trailer Park, prompting a search involving several law enforcement agencies.

Both Barker and Smith have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Barker’s trial date was set for January 13, 2020.

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