West Virginia Man Accused of Rape and Murder of Ten-Month-Old Child

Case reignites death penalty argument in the state

Monoah Brown, Staff Reporter

Jackson County, West Virginia is in horrible shock after ten-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer was put on life support after being pronounced brain dead by doctors at CAMC General Hospital. An arrest has been made in the assault of the child.

The infant’s unresponsive, bloody, naked body was found in the basement of a Meadowlark Lane residence in the town of Ripley. She was brutally raped and beaten, allegedly by her mother’s boyfriend, reports WSAG news channel.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department apprehended 32 year old Benjamin Taylor, on charges of first degree sexual assault. The charges will be upgraded, county Sheriff Tony Boggs told reporters, since the child was officially pronounced dead by the hospital.

According to the deputies, Taylor had denied knowing anything about the incident. After being read his Miranda rights, Taylor admitted to taking the infant to the basement earlier that evening. He denies involvement, he said he “blacked out” and doesn’t know what happened.

The Jackson County Police found a lot of blood on clothes and blankets in the basement where the baby’s mother found the critically injured girl motionless.

KATU.com reports that Taylor’s failed attempts to keep a consistent story about the incident raised police suspicion, and the suspect is currently being held at the South Central Region Jail on a bond of $2 million.  

A petition to WhiteHouse.gov was created on October 5th, 2016, to “publicly hang Benjamin Taylor.” More than a thousand people had already signed this petition when it was closed by the site administrators for breaking their rules. [Ed. note: The death penalty was abolished in West Virginia in 1965, and unless Taylor is charged with a federal crime, the federal government has no say in the case.]

A GoFundMe page has been launched by the victim’s aunt to invite donations for the baby’s medical expenses and family legal fees. On the site, people from all over the country have been expressing both their heartfelt condolences and their bitter anger at the man they believe to be responsible.