Auburn man accused of killing 5-year-old stepdaughter appears in court

Auburn man accused of killing 5-year-old stepdaughter appears in court

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - On Wednesday, Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese spoke with News Leader 9 about seeking the death penalty in the case of an Auburn man accused in the capital murder of his 5-year-old stepdaughter.

Wearing a blue shirt, and glasses, 34-year-old George Barton walked into a Lee County Courtroom for the first time since being charged with the capital murder of his stepdaughter Caley Presley.

According to court documents, Barton allegedly admitted to police he beat the little girl with a belt multiple times over the weekend, while inside the family's home on Rosie Street.
On Sunday, Caley was airlifted to a Birmingham hospital, where doctors diagnosed a broken clavicle, femur, skull fracture, bruising all over her body and internal injuries.

Investigators say her mother was at work during the alleged beatings.  At this point, she has not been charged.

"I can't comment about the investigation expect to say investigators continue to look at all possibilities connected to the investigation and interview witnesses and I understand they will interview the mother hopefully shortly," Treese said. "Understand, this is a situation where she is facing some serious and obvious pain and we need to be mindful of that."
Caley was on life support until she passed away Monday night. Shortly after her death, child abuse and domestic violence charges against her stepfather were upgraded to capital murder.

"Because it's a capital case, there are only two possible punishment if convicted, they are death or life without the possibility of parole," Treese said.
Treese says he needs to speak with Caley's loved ones, before deciding if he will seek the death penalty.

"I haven't made the decision yet, this has only just been since Sunday and it is Wednesday now, we are going to take a hard look at the evidence and give the family some time to grieve. It's a horrible situation," he said.

Barton will not be eligible for bond because this is a capital case.

Wednesday's hearing lasted maybe 10 minutes. The judge read the charges against him and Barton was appointed two attorneys to represent him.

As far as the next step, Barton's attorney did request a preliminary- probable cause hearing. A date has not been set, but it will happen soon.

This will be the first real test of the evidence the state has gathered so far against Barton. It will include testimony from the lead detective
on the case, and we could also hear Barton's statement he allegedly gave to police.

At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to send the case to the grand jury for them to consider an indictment.

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