Mom pleads guilty to murder

Local News

MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A pregnant Twanka Davis pleaded guilty and will be in prison for the death of Ta’Naja Barnes. In February, Barnes was found locked in her bedroom of their Decatur home. She was wrapped in a urine-soaked blanket and her body temperature didn’t measure on a thermometer.

As the details of Ta’Naja’s death were read out loud Davis was wiping her eyes and being consoled by her lawyer. The 20-year sentence she got will have to be served in full, but some people don’t believe that’s enough.

A woman who admits to playing a role in the death of her toddler will be spending 20 years in prison and many aren’t happy about it.

“I think it’s outrageous. I think she most definitely should have gotten life. She took a life. She was responsible for her daughter’s life and she starved her to death, she froze her it’s ridiculous,” Jennifer Jackiewicz says.

But the Macon County States Attorney says there’s a reason behind it.

“This was not an intentional killing this was a case of extreme neglect that lead to the death of this child. In fact, I’ve never seen a case charged this was or had a case like this during my career,” Jay Scott says.

Two-year-old Ta’naja Barnes was found dead in her Decatur home back in February. She was wrapped in a urine-soaked blanket and so cold a thermometer couldn’t get a temperature.

Twanka Davis, her mother was in the home at the time.

Information from the affidavit: “After she had been advised that Tan’aja was deceased the defendant stated that she believed the victim died because of the cold.”

But the cold wasn’t the only factor in this child’s death. The coroner says environmental neglect, dehydration, and malnutrition also played a part.

Information from the affidavit: “The defendant stated that Tan’aja spent most of her time in her own bedroom and she admitted Ta’Naja was physically unable to get out of that bedroom unless she or her paramour let her out of that bedroom.”

Davis admits the night before her daughter died she turned off the furnace and took the heater out of Barnes’ room.

“There was no reason for that baby to be in a room by herself when it was that cold in that house,” Jackiewicz says.

In court Friday the judge asked if the toddler’s father supports the deal. The state’s attorney’s office said they weren’t able to get in touch with him. We also tried and didn’t get an answer.

Davis was originally charged with murder and endangering the life of a child because she has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder they dropped the endangerment charge. 20 years in prison is the minimum sentence.

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