BRUNSWICK, Ga. - The grandmother of Christopher Barrios Jr. is upset that the man charged in the kidnapping, rape and murder of her grandson in 2007 in Glynn County may never stand trial.
George Edenfield, 38, was in court Thursday as the judge reviewed his competency. Edenfield admitted to taking part in the crime, according to police, but over the years, he was found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Edenfield's father, David, was sentenced to death for his part in the murder, and his mother, Peggy, received 60 years in prison.
The judge will likely make a decision on George Edenfield's competency next week, but both prosecutors and Edenfield's defense recommended he be held in a state mental health facility. That upsets Sue Rodriguez, Barrios' grandmother, so much so that she stormed out of the courtroom Thursday.
"He could've grown up to be the next president. He could have been a lawyer. He could have been a lot of things. But these bastards cut his life short," Rodriguez said. "A baby that couldn't defend himself."
"A baby that loved life, that loved his grandma and daddy and brothers and mom, and yet he didn't have no say on when he's going to die," she said.
With the fate of Peggy and David Edenfield already decided, the only murder suspect left in Barrios' killing is the couple's son, George. He's never gone to trial because he was declared incompetent, unable to comprehend what may go on.
On the stand, psychologists gave their opinions.
"If you ask if he wants to testify, he might say yes, and if you say, 'Well, are you sure?' He might say no," said Dr. Karen Bailey-Smith, a psychologist for the state.
"I can't imagine Mr. Edenfield being able to make the kinds of decisions that he would have to make through the trial process," said Dr. Greg Cox, a licensed clinical psychologist.
Edenfield has been in a state mental health hospital for the last two years. Experts say he's developmentally disabled and has a very low IQ, possibly too low to face a jury. But Barrios' grandmother disagrees and thinks he's faking it to dodge the consequences of the crime.
"It's just making me ill, very ill," Rodriguez said. "They know that bastard's lying. They know it."
Despite Rodriquez's concerns, attorneys on both sides of the case agreed that a psychiatric hospital, not trial and potentially prison, would be best for the situation.
"What are they going to end up doing eventually?" Rodriguez said. "They're going to forget Christopher Michael Barrios Jr., age 6."
The prosecution and defense are filing the paperwork requesting that Edenfield remain in a mental health facility. It's up to the judge to make the final decision.
If the judge decides he should remain in the facility, the judge would review the case and Edenfield's competency each year and decide what's appropriate. But judging by the nature of the crime and the expert testimony, it seems Edenfield may spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital.
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