By Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Stillwater woman has been charged with punching a 15-year-old female relative in the face and arms, who later told a police officer “she was pretty sure all of the adults in the house were under the influence of meth,” an affidavit alleged.
If convicted of child abuse, Mary April Barnett, 34, who remains free on $5,000 bond pending a March 19 court appearance, could be given a maximum penalty of a life prison term.
Stillwater Police Officer Joshua Simpson said that the victim’s left eye was bright red and swollen almost completely shut when he saw her at the Stillwater Medical Center emergency room at 3:24 p.m. on Feb. 15, according to his affidavit.
The victim said that she was home with relatives, her parents’ friend, and two friends about 6:30 p.m. on Valentines Day when “she saw what she believed to be drug paraphernalia,” belonging to her parents’ friend, “and she was going to get rid of it so her brother, who is autistic, wouldn’t find it and harm himself with it,” the affidavit alleged.
“She said when she grabbed it, (her parents’ friend) told her it wasn’t hers and to leave it alone. She said they began to argue,” and Barnett awoke, the affidavit alleged.
She said that Barnett “told her not to be touching things that weren’t hers and to not be disrespecting adults in the house,” the affidavit alleged
The victim “said she was pretty sure all of the adults in the house were under the influence of meth,” so she decided to leave, but Barnett “held the door shut with one hand and punched her numerous times in the face with the other,” the affidavit alleged.
She said “when she fell back against the wall, she raised her hands to try to defend herself and Mary (Barnett) started hitting the underside of her biceps too,” which were also bruised, the affidavit alleged.
She said that after one of the male adults got in between them and got them separated, she immediately went out the front door along with her friend, the affidavit alleged.
“She said she was afraid of what Mary (Barnett) might do if she called the police or went to the hospital, so her and (her friend) stayed at a friend’s house until Feb. 15,” the affidavit alleged.
“She said she then called her grandparents and told them she was going to the hospital because her eye was swollen so much and she was in pain,” the affidavit alleged.
Her grandfather told the officer “that was exactly what her brother had told him in the hallway,” of the hospital, the affidavit alleged.
When the Stillwater officer contacted the state Department of Human Services, “someone responded immediately,” his affidavit said.
Stillwater Police Detective Sherae LeJeune and DHS interviewed Barnett, who was arrested after she said that she had struck the girl, the affidavit alleged.