Mother murders her 5-month-old after his father wants to file for divorce

FORT WALTON BEACH, FL – A Florida mother has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of her infant son in what prosecutors described as a premeditated act driven by her husband’s intention to seek a divorce. Maria Jaimicia Llaria Rodriguez-Barnes, 35, faced final judgment in an Okaloosa County court, with official records confirming her conviction.

On March 25, 2020, at the bustling Fort Walton Beach Boardwalk, emergency responders found Rodriguez-Barnes suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Despite initially denying being shot, she subsequently admitted to difficulty breathing but failed to alert authorities to the presence of her infant son in her vehicle.

Tragically, 5-month-old Jaxxon Gunner Rodriguez-Barnes was discovered dead on the floorboard of Rodriguez-Barnes’ truck. The firearm used in the incident was recovered in close proximity to the child’s body, according to law enforcement officials.

Evidence presented during the trial indicated the tragic event unfolded after Rodriguez-Barnes discovered her husband’s plans to file for divorce. It was revealed that she chose the Boardwalk as the location for the shooting due to its personal significance—it was the very place her husband had once proposed to her.

In a chilling communication prior to the incident, Rodriguez-Barnes reportedly said, “I’m sorry for what I’m about to do.” She called her husband before heading to Okaloosa Island, where the felony took place.

Court documents cited an email penned by Rodriguez-Barnes on the day of the murder, hinting at the irreversible nature of her decision. Although the defense contended that there was reasonable doubt concerning the element of premeditation, the prosecution bolstered their case, referencing handwritten notes, communications with relatives, and the choice of the heartbreaking location as clear indicators of a premeditated act.

Rodriguez-Barnes will now face the consequences of her actions, as the life sentence ensures she will not have the opportunity for parole.