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Trial set for mother, boyfriend in Owen Barker murder case

Jessica Cuffman • Feb 28, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Danielle Flannery, 22, appeared wearing glasses and green jail garb Monday in Erie County Common Pleas Court for a pretrial hearing.

Charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Owen Barker, her son, her case is set for trial Feb 12.

Owen died July 30 at Firelands Regional Medical Center.

Police and prosecutor’s have said the boy suffered a fatal blow to his chest that day, when he was home alone with Flannery’s boyfriend, Michael Milner, 24.

Autopsy results showed Owen suffered heavy internal and external bruising to his head, lungs and abdomen, in addition to the injury to his chest.

Milner has been charged with aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault and endangering children.

He could face the death penalty if convicted of the aggravated murder charge. His case is set for trial March 14.

Investigators have said they believe Flannery knew about ongoing abuse Milner inflicted on Owen.

At a brief hearing Monday, Flannery’s attorney, Michael Duff, and Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter discussed sharing children services records concerning Owen.

“Normally, children services records are privileged,” Baxter said. “But with the nature of this case, I’m willing to provide as much discovery as I can.”

Duff agreed to accept the records after Baxter redacts the privileged part of the investigative files.

Social workers investigated the couple at least twice before Owen was killed.

Both Milner and Flannery are incarcerated at the Erie County jail, though Flannery had earlier requested to be released before the holidays.

Judge Roger Binette declined to lower her $120,000 bond after learning that even though she’d been ordered to have no contact with Milner, she did anyway.

He reminded her in court Monday about the order.

“You’re not helping yourself by violating the court’s order,” Binette said.


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