“I’m sorry for what I’m about to do”

Maria Rodriguez-Barnes was sentenced to life in prison on June 5 after being convicted in 2020 of killing her 5-month-old son

<p>Okaloose Department of Corrections</p>
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<p>Okaloose Department of Corrections</p>
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Okaloose Correctional Facility

Maria Rodriguez-Barnes

A Florida mother will spend the rest of her life in prison after being found guilty of killing her young son in the same place where her husband proposed to her, several news outlets reported.

On June 5, an Okaloosa County jury found Maria Rodriguez-Barnes, now 35, guilty of first-degree premeditated murder in connection with the death of her son in 2020. Sacramento Bee, Daily news from Northwest Florida and WKRG report citing prosecutors.

According to Rodriguez-Barnes’ arrest report, which was viewed by PEOPLE, she drove her five-month-old son, Jaxxon Gunner Rodriguez Barnes, to the parking lot of The Boardwalk in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, on March 25, 2020. There, police say, she shot her son once in the chest and then shot herself in a suicide attempt, which she survived.

In her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Michelle Sandler said Rodriguez-Barnes planned to kill her son after learning her husband was filing for divorce. Daily news from Northwest Florida. The prosecutor added that she had deliberately chosen this place because her husband had proposed to her there.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release at the time that Jaxxon was discovered dead in the bed of his mother’s pickup truck when a group of coworkers called authorities. They then discovered 5-month-old Jaxxon Rodriguez-Barnes in a sitting position on the left rear floor of the pickup, slumped over a pillow.

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According to the sheriff’s office, officers found a 9mm handgun, shell casings and handwritten notes in her car. The details of the notes were redacted in the police report.

According to the Sacramento BeeSandler said in court that before the murder, Rodriguez-Barnes told her husband, “I’m sorry for what I’m about to do.” She also reportedly informed family members of her plan before the incident.

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