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Two sentenced in toddler's death

By Justin Reedy

A 30-year-old Forest Park man and a 20-year-old Marietta woman have pleaded guilty in connection to the beating death of a toddler in Clayton County.

Christopher Barkley and Jennifer Daniel both faced murder charges in connection with the death of Daniel's 23-month-old son, Jamorris. Barkely pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while Daniel pleaded guilty to cruelty to children and received five years probation.

Barkley, Daniel's boyfriend, was accused of beating the toddler while babysitting him in September 2001, according to Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Jack Jennings. The child's grandparents had noticed signs of abuse, Jennings said, and thought it could have been because Barkley wasn't sure he was the boy's father.

On the weekend that Jamorris died the child had been sick with strep throat, Jennings said, and authorities think Barkley, who may have been previously abusing the child, got frustrated with the sick boy and abused him again.

Daniel picked up her son later that night, Jennings said, and noticed the next morning that the child's head was swollen. She had an opportunity to get medical attention for the boy, Jennings said, but instead she left him in Barkley's care again that day and the child died that night.