A Hanover County woman convicted two years ago of felony child neglect and drunken driving will be spending more time behind bars for probation violations stemming from new convictions and drug use.
Robin Renee Barron faced up to three years and eight months in prison, but this week a Henrico County judge sentenced her to 15 days.
Two years ago, Barron appeared in front of a different Henrico judge and tearfully pleaded for leniency, after she left four of her children in her car while she drank inside a bar. She pleaded no contest to four counts of felony child neglect; driving under the influence; and refusing to take a breath test at the scene.
A judge sentenced Barron to four months in jail and probation. She told the court she was changing her life and would stay out of trouble.
But this week Barron, now 39, was back in Henrico Circuit Court.
Well, I just don’t see how this is possible.
Assistant Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney David A. Stock told Henrico Circuit Judge Daniel T. Balfour that Barron had tested positive for cocaine use in June 2009. And in Hanover, she had run up another series of driving-related arrests including another DUI conviction, Stock said.
Barron, on the stand in tears Thursday, employed the same plea for mercy that had marked her appearance two years earlier.
She told Balfour that she has discovered she is an alcoholic, is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and has held down a waitressing job for almost a year. She also promised she is a devoted mother.
Her AA sponsor testified on Barron’s behalf, saying Barron has accepted that she is an alcoholic. Barron’s lawyer, Steve Marks, compared Barron’s conversion to the biblical parable of Paul accepting Jesus on the road to Damascus.
He begged the judge not to force her off her road to recovery.
Stock stressed Barron’s same pattern of new convictions after her problems with the law two years ago.
In February 2008, Barron had left her four children in her car and spent the evening drinking at The Playing Field, a sports bar on West Broad Street in Henrico, authorities said. Tests showed her blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit for drivers. Testimony at her sentencing later that year showed that patrons and the manager at the bar tried to stop her from driving off and heard her 8-month-old baby crying inside the vehicle.
Bar patrons called the police and another person followed her as she plowed into a fire hydrant on West End Drive near a fire station. It was 11:30 p.m.
A prosecutor in that case asked for a 10-year sentence, but Circuit Judge George F. Tidey expressed compassion for Barron’s plight and suspended all but four months of a four-year sentence.
“I thought I had it under control, but I know now that it will be with me the rest of my life,” Barron told Tidey at the time, admitting to her alcoholism and noting her attendance at AA meetings. She was in a welfare-to-work program, she said.
Alcoholics Anonymous is shameless and unaccountable.
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