Felicia Smith, Levi Ellerbe, Hanna Barker

Felicia Smith (left), Levi Ellerbe, Hanna Barker

NATCHITOCHES, La. – A  hearing is set Monday in Natchitoches Parish District Court to determine if a mother accused in the burning death of her infant son should get the state’s assistance to pay for her defense.

Dhu Thompson, the attorney representing Hanna Barker, of Natchitoches, filed a motion last week seeking to have his client declared indigent. He said Barker has no assets or savings to cover the expenses related to hiring experts or pay her attorney’s proposed travel expenses.

Declaring Barker indigent would allow her to get state funding, the motion states.

Barker is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2018 death son, 6-month-old Levi Cole Ellerbe. Her trial is set in October in Opelousas. The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Barker asked her girlfriend, Felicia Marie-Nicole Smith, to kill Levi then waited a few hours before calling 911 to report her son had been kidnapped. Smith is accused of dumping Levi along the railroad tracks in Natchitoches, coating him in gasoline and setting him ablaze. Levi was found with severe burns covering 90 percent of his body and later died.

Smith is scheduled for trial in January.


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