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Tucson mother convicted in toybox killing loses court appeal

Raquel Marcella Barreras will continue natural life sentence.
2019 trial for couple accused of starving son
Posted at 3:25 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 18:25:11-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Raquel Marcella Barreras is currently serving a natural life sentence for the death of her three-year-old son Roman Barreras.

In 2019, a Pima County jury convicted her of first-degree murder, abandonment, concealment of a dead body and four counts of child abuse. Court documents show Barreras and her husband Martin Barreras left the remains of the child inside a toybox and moved from the house.

Raquel Barreras (AZ Dept. of Corrections)

Barreras appealed stating that certain evidence admitted aggravated her sentence. Specifically, she argued, that testimony that she isolated Roman in a “covered playpen in the spare concrete laundry room” and "beat him with a broomstick" was inadmissible because it was irrelevant and substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice.


Closing arguments in murder trial for Martin Barreras, father accused of starving child to death

She also argued against double jeopardy. Here is an excerpt from the Court filing: Barreras asserts the trial court violated her Sixth Amendment constitutional right by aggravating her sentences without a proper jury finding and violated her right against double jeopardy by imposing consecutive sentences for first-degree murder and child abuse.

On Friday, presiding Judge Karl Eppidge with the Court Appeals Arizona, Division 2, issued the decision of the court: In Arizona, if no aggravators have been proven, the presumptive sentence is the statutory maximum. Dunbar, 249 Ariz.

As for the double jeopardy claim, the court ruled: the double jeopardy claim fails.

Roman Barreras' father, Martin Barreras, is also serving natural life for his role in the death.

Martin Barreras (AZ Dept. of Corrections)