Mom of slain toddler enters plea

Danielle Flannery guilty of permitting child abuse; three other charges dropped
Sandusky Register Staff
Dec 6, 2013


The mother of a 3-year-old Sandusky boy who was beaten to death in July 2012 pleaded guilty Friday to permitting child abuse.

Danielle Flannery, 23, pleaded guilty to the first-degree felony charge in Erie County Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette's courtroom. She could face up to 11 years in prison when she's sentenced in February. She also faces a $20,000 fine.

Flannery was the mother of Owen Barker, who died July 30, 2012, of a fatal blow to the chest. The child suffered heavy internal and external bruising to his head, lungs and abdomen.

Flannery's boyfriend at the time, Michael Milner, 25, was charged aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault and child endangering. He remains in the Erie County jail awaiting trial, with a pretrial scheduled for Jan. 13.

Milner was babysitting the child at their Fulton Street home while Flannery was at work. He maintained the child slipped and fell on a toy truck. During the course of their investigation, police and prosecutors determined Owen had suffered abuse multiple times prior to his death. They had also charged Flannery with obstruction because they determined she knew more about the night Owen died, but didn't share the information with investigators.

In exchange for her plea, however, prosecutors dismissed the obstruction charge, as well as dismissing charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangering.

Flannery remains free on bond. Her plea hearing Friday lasted about 20 minutes.



Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Wrong...I said it was unreal because the law seems to deem her more worthy than her three year old son.

Statement of FACT!!


Free on bond? Wow.. Hope she sees her little boys face everyday and feels like a wonderful mother. She could have prevented this. But instead chose a man. Was it worth it?


Don't call him a man


People like this dont deserve children just like that beautiful little boy didnt deserve to be beaten to death by this so called man.I hope he gets the death penality for doing this to Owen.Poor little boy never got to see what life was about so sad.

Bada Bing

Wtf is wrong with today's society? They should lock her and Milner up and throw away the key...that poor little boy had no one to help him why should we help on bond ...are you frecken kidding me.....only in sandusky!


You guys are crazy..... its not just sandusky, she is entitled to bond.. she was at work, she didn't kill her son..... I am sure it is hard enough for her to have to live with the fact she was dating the man that killed her baby and I am sure she feels responsible as she is for bringing that guy into her life.... she is going to go to prison as she should, but to sit here and act like she killed that boy or really even had any prior knowledge of the severity of the mistreatment is obserd. Do you people honestly believe she wanted this or was ok with someone beating her kid....I highly doubt it...


She was "OK with it"....he had DONE IT BEFORE. She knew he had done it and allowed it to happen and not stopped it or kicked him to the curb. If she had stopped it the FIRST time maybe her son would still be alive. When these women pick men over their children it is disgusting. Was it worth it? I mean, was he a good lay? I highly doubt he was a good paycheck! She was the one working while he "babysat". The first time I ever found out someone hit my kid, would be the last. And I would probably be the one sitting in jail for beating the crap out of THEM!


AEversole are you kidding me? Look at the investigation. He did it before to this same child. It is just as much her fault as it is his and CHILDERENS SERVICES for even letting the boy go back into the home. Its a shame. Every time I hear of this case I remember the video of the boy that was out after his death. It still brings me to tears to think in this kids short life he had so much fear and pain. I'm not sure what you think a mother should be but I can tell you I sure don't think a mother lets her little boy live in pain and fear and does nothing.

Tru Grit

Shout to the bums in the Erie county presecutors office. Will never understand why a plea deal is given, must be to much work to put bad people away on all charges. Regardless if she truly knew, she knew there was abuse going on and turning a blind eye is just disgusting. You have a serious mental impairment if your brain thinks and processes events like this young lady did. That poor little boy had to endure pain, suffering, an finally death. Not sure how people in power feel about it but if they had this happen to a loved one they wouldn't be thinking plea deal. When Milner does go to prison he will be placed in protective custody away from other inmate because of the crime he committed. I can tell you this, other inmates will know the crime and the ones who really find this disturbing who have life will try and work to find anyway possible to get to him.

dorothy gale

Free on bond?! When will "deals" stop being offered for these kinds of awful crimes? Will Milner also be offered a deal? Who offered the little boy a deal? NO ONE! I am so damn sick and tired of this s**t!!


What I believe and would like to say I won't just because it would be more extreme than some may agree with and it would make me out to be a radical! Let the sentence meet the crime!


AEversole, you are completely off base if you truly believe this so called "mother" did not know what was going on. The abuse happened previously and she still continued to let this man babysit her child. She deserves to be behind bars and lose her life the way she let her sons life be taken away.


AEversole, please tell me this: If I left a loaded handgun at home with my young child and went off to work, would you blame me if he picked up that gun and shot himself or somebody else with it?

These circumstances are no different. This woman left her baby alone with a "gun" she KNEW was loaded (he'd abused the boy before and she was aware of it). I cannot buy into the notion that she was surprised that it happened again, and I don't accept that this isn't her fault.

Guns don't shoot anybody all by themselves. How many times have we had THAT discussion on these pages, eh? And this little boy didn't die by himself. Flannery may not have pulled the trigger, but she left that baby all alone with that loaded "weapon" and with ample opportunity for that "weapon" to go off. As far as I'm concerned, these charges are nowhere NEAR sufficient for what she REALLY did!

Seen it All

Great analogy, and I whole heartedly agree with you!

red white and blue

I'm surprised the the prosecutor and judge didn't take them out to eat.when will we stick together and
Get rid of these people in office they keep allowing these murders and drug dealers go