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OGDEN — Adam Joseph Barney's 25-years-to-life prison sentence was not a surprise.
Barney, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to aggravated murder, admitting to pummeling his girlfriend's infant daughter to death in a frustrated rage. He was expressionless Wednesday, not speaking, as the previously agreed upon sentence was handed down.
"The act you committed is horrendous," 2nd District Judge Brent West told Barney. "I just don't get it. I was hoping for more of an explanation."
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty.
Barney was watching the infant girl, 14-month-old Kenzie Rose LaBuy, and his girlfriend's other two children while she was at work on Aug. 25, 2014. The couple was living at Western Colony Inn, 234 24th St., and Barney told detectives he became increasingly frustrated by their dirty living conditions, the older children misbehaving, and the infant's crying.
Barney lashed out at the baby, violently punching and squeezing her before he tossed her aside and left her. He told detectives he hit the girl "with everything I had."
An autopsy concluded Kenzie died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen. The girl had been dead for some time before Barney called 911.
James LaBuy, the baby's father, was the only person to address West about the sentence. He wept as he spoke of the daughter he will never see grow up.
"I hope he understands I feel like he took my daughter from me," said an emotional LaBuy. "(The sentence) is never going to be enough in my eyes, but it's the best the court can do."
Kaci Rupert, Kenzie's mother, was not in court for the sentencing.
I hope he understands I feel like he took my daughter from me. (The sentence) is never going to be enough in my eyes, but it's the best the court can do.
–James LaBuy, victim's father
On the day of Kenzie's death, Rupert said Barney had been caring for her children almost daily since they had moved in together nearly two months earlier.
"He watches them every day; every day and there's never been anything, never been any sign," Rupert said at the time.
Barney did not address the judge. Speaking on his behalf, defense attorney James Retallick said Barney pleaded guilty to spare Kenzie's family the pain of a trial. Retallick said he believes counseling may help Barney to eventually understand what he has done.
"Even if he may not fully understand what occurred, he understands it was his actions that took the life of this child," Retallick told the judge.
Following the sentencing, Kyrie Jackson, a friend of Barney's from high school, said she has been talking to Barney since his arrest. Barney seems to be "the same boy I knew in high school," though plagued by cognitive struggles and past traumatic experiences.
"There are stimulating reasons from his past why he may have done what he did," Jackson said. "I think he tends to repress things, I think that's how he deals with reality sometimes. … It's not like (he) just got up one morning and said, 'I'm going to kill a small child.' This was something that he wasn't understanding."