MACCLENNY, Fla. – The mother and father of Lonzie Barton, the toddler who disappeared last summer and whose skeletal remains were found in January, pleaded guilty in Baker County court Tuesday to charges resulting from an undercover drug deal.
Lonna Barton, 25, and her husband, Chris Barton, were arrested Sept. 16 after an undercover drug deal at a Baker County motel.
According to the Baker County arrest report, a confidential informant was told Lonna and Chris Barton used syringes to inject themselves with Molly, also known as MDMA or Ecstasy, and they encouraged the informant to do the same.
Lonna Barton pleaded guilty Tuesday to four second-degree felonies and was sentenced to seven years in prison, which will begin after she finishes a five-year sentence in Duval County.
Lonna Barton received her five-year sentence in Duval County, with credit for 203 days served, after pleading guilty to child neglect and lying to police in connection with Lonzie's disappearance.
She will also have three years of drug treatment and probation after she is released.
Chris Barton also pleaded guilty to his drug charges and to a battery charge that resulted from a fight in jail with Ransom Barefoot, who has publicly claimed to be Lonzie's father.
He was sentenced to three years on the drug charges and 38 days for the battery charge. He was credited with 203 days served and ordered to undergo drug and alcohol evaluations and treatment after he's released.
The judge is also allowing him to do community service to offset some of his court fees, and encouraged Lonna Barton to do the same.
Lonna Barton's attorney, Anthony Blackburn, was shocked by the sentence.
"Seven years, it was too much," Blackburn said. "They don't feel like she got enough in Duval County. This was just a way to add extra time."
Blackburn said that even though it's more time than she expected, Lonna Barton won't fight the sentence because she didn't want to go to trial.
“There's so much negativity out there,” he said. “Definitely you are not going to want to take that risk. She does feel like the community has gone against her. She didn't feel like she could get a fair jury pool either.”
Lonna Barton's boyfriend, Ruben Ebron, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated manslaughter and other charges connected to Lonzie's death and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
At a hearing that extended into Tuesday Ebron was sentenced to five years on a Baker County charge of possession of methamphetamines and he was credited with time served on a resisting arrest charge.
Lonna Barton testified at a pre-trial hearing in Ebron's case that he sold drugs every day she was with him, including when her children were around. During Ebron's sentencing hearing, he said Lonzie died in a bathtub while the couple was having sex, and that he panicked and hid his body in a trash pile off State Road 9B near Bayard.