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District Attorney - News

Posted on: August 3, 2018

Joseph Barela Sentenced to 48 Years Prison for Child Abuse Death

joseph barela

Joseph William Barela, DOB: 3-16-89, appeared in the Jefferson County District Court today where he was sentenced to prison for 48 years for the child abuse death of his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter, Samantha, in January, 2017.


Following trial in June, a Jefferson County jury found Barela guilty of Child Abuse Resulting in Death (F2); Child Abuse (M1); and two counts of Tampering with a Witness (F4). The tampering charges were the result of Mr. Barela’s attempts to prevent two witnesses from testifying against him.

Barela was sole caregiver for Samantha while her mother was at work. On January 26, 2017 her mother left for work at 7:30 a.m. Ten minutes later Barela called her and said Samantha was having a hard time breathing. He asked if he should call 911. Westminster police arrived at 5557 79th Avenue where they found the child was not breathing. She was transported to the hospital but never regained consciousness. She died the following day.

Barela and the child’s mother had been living together for about seven months. The mother worked two jobs. Samantha had recently been potty-trained and Barela and the mother argued about punishment for toileting “accidents”. The mother insisted there not be physical punishment; Barela argued for physical punishment. There was evidence that there had been a toileting accident that day.

Doctors found that Samantha has suffered massive brain injury, including subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhaging, brain contusion, bilateral retinal hemorrhaging, scalp hemorrhage, and numerous bruises in various stages of healing.

This was Barela’s third felony conviction.

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