Child molester avoided jail time

  • Follow Metro

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Three days before young Christopher Michael Barrios disappeared, a child molester arrested in the 6-year-old boy's killing was sentenced to probation instead of prison for violating conditions of Georgia's sex offender registry.

Christopher Michael Barrios: Boy's family says the court system is to blame for not putting George David Edenfield in prison.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Christopher Michael Barrios: Boy's family says the court system is to blame for not putting George David Edenfield in prison.

The suspect, George David Edenfield, also never served prison time for his 1997 child molestation conviction after he struck a plea deal with prosecutors, according to a review of court records by The Associated Press.

"I really don't think there was a breakdown in the system," Stephen Kelley, the district attorney for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, said Monday. "It's just a tragic situation."

Still, Christopher's father and grandmother blamed the court system for not putting Mr. Edenfield in prison.

"That cost my son his life," said Mike Barrios, the boy's father. "It could have been stopped right there if they had locked him up."

Mr. Edenfield, 32, is one of four people arrested last week in connection with Christopher's abduction and slaying. The child's body was found Thursday in a trash bag dumped along a wooded roadside about three miles from his home.

The boy had been missing for a week after neighbors last saw him playing alone in the mobile home park where he lived with his father just outside of Brunswick.

On March 5, three days before Christopher vanished, Mr. Edenfield pleaded guilty in Glynn County Superior Court to violating a state law that prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and other places that draw children.

Court records show that sheriff's deputies told Mr. Edenfield in September that he had 10 days to move from his previous home near downtown Brunswick, which sat too close to a playground. He was arrested Oct. 9 after he didn't comply.

Superior Court Judge Stephen G. Scarlett sentenced Mr. Edenfield to 10 years' probation after he pleaded guilty in a deal reached with prosecutors. By that time, Mr. Edenfield had moved with his parents to the trailer park where Christopher lived.

Mr. Kelley said it was Mr. Edenfield's first violation since his conviction a decade earlier. Prosecutors said there's no history of violence in his record.

"Should we have sent him to prison because he waited an extra two weeks to move?" Mr. Kelley said. "I think you'll find very few prosecutors' offices seeking prison sentences for technical violations."

In the 1997 child molestation case, Mr. Edenfield had been accused of rubbing his clothed body "in a sexual manner" against two boys, ages 7 and 9, who lived next door to him. Prosecutors said the boys were fully clothed when Mr. Edenfield molested them.

He struck a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to 10 years' probation, fined $1,000 and was ordered to undergo counseling and register as a sex offender. Had the case gone to trial, Mr. Edenfield would have faced up to 40 years in prison.

Mr. Kelley said he plans to seek a grand jury indictment Wednesday against Mr. Edenfield, his parents and a family friend, Donald Dale, in Christopher's death.

He would not say what charges he'll pursue, but Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said Monday that he expects murder charges to be brought against all four.

Mr. Edenfield has been jailed since last week for violating his probation, which prohibits him from contact with children younger than 18. Police say he admitted playing a role in Christopher's disappearance.

His parents, David and Peggy Edenfield, and Mr. Dale have been jailed on charges of lying to police and concealing Christopher's body. They initially told police they knew nothing about the boy's disappearance.

Police say all three later changed their story, with David Edenfield and Mr. Dale telling investigators they buried the body.

Comments (35) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
spangenburg
0
Points
spangenburg 03/20/07 - 06:39 am
0
0
I think they should go after

I think they should go after the prosector and the judge for slapping Mr. Edenfield on the hand on the first offends. they are just as guilty for this little boys death.

zHolly220
0
Points
zHolly220 03/20/07 - 07:47 am
0
0
I agree with you 100%

I agree with you 100% SPANGENBURG. These judges make the desicions that affect people lives,how they sleep at night,I don't know.

Just me 2
0
Points
Just me 2 03/20/07 - 08:15 am
0
0
do you reckon that judge

do you reckon that judge would have the same attitude
"it's just a tragic situation." if this had been his family member. i would think not. i feel whoever let this creep off in the first place should be charged with neglect of his duties. he is being paid to protect the public and he
most certainly failed in this case.

paragod112
0
Points
paragod112 03/20/07 - 08:40 am
0
0
May the good Lord help us

May the good Lord help us seems like the Law let this boy and his family down,and an innocent life was lost seems like everyone is worried that the ACLU will so on behalf of the pedifile and forget about the ones they will hurt. the law need todo there job and quit worring about these pedifiles and the ACLU protect our youth hopefully the prosecuters and judges willdo their job one day and uphold the laws and put pedifiles where they belong.

FedUp
0
Points
FedUp 03/20/07 - 08:42 am
0
0
These low-life scums

These low-life scums shouldn't be given a 2nd chance whenever children are involved in their crimes! Those who prey on innocent children should have their you-know-whats cut off & shoved up their rear ends! The system is too lenient on these &$^&^$# people!!!!!!

takecharge2
0
Points
takecharge2 03/20/07 - 08:44 am
0
0
The legal system stinks!!!!

The legal system stinks!!!! It is the same with drug dealers and drunk drivers. What happend to being accountable for your actions!!!!!

getalife
4
Points
getalife 03/20/07 - 09:01 am
0
0
Our justice system is broke,

Our justice system is broke, it has gotten to the point where the accused have more rights than the victims. We need to write our state and federal representatives and demand stricter laws and sentencing of child molesters and pedophiles.

ganascarracefan
0
Points
ganascarracefan 03/20/07 - 09:21 am
0
0
so when he gets out n kills

so when he gets out n kills another child the judge that let him walk should go to jail as well how can u just let him walk

ganascarracefan
0
Points
ganascarracefan 03/20/07 - 09:24 am
0
0
as the parents dont let him

as the parents dont let him go fight till hes where he belongs all 4 of them we cant have these ppl on our streets

Fort GordonGA
0
Points
Fort GordonGA 03/20/07 - 09:30 am
0
0
i am so sick and tired of

i am so sick and tired of hearing " mr___ is on probation and is register as a sex offender". that do not protect our children and adults (female and male. when do we say enough is enough. times have change and so should the laws. growing up in the 80's this was unheard of. now its like the norm. the crime rates are sky high (example) drugs arrest, dui, robbery, sex crime, idenity theft and assault. people do not want to work no more, they want to live the fast life. it's scary. i really don't want to see this world in 10-15 years. we need to wake up, and thing about our children. who's going to lead this country. the drug deals, the murders, sex offender or the arm robbery. we need help. the criminals need to be held reliable for their actions. stop the probations, stop the registering, and put their behind in jail. i use to be against the death penatly. but please bring it back. we are losing so many young kids in gang banging and let's not forget about the average age of 24 years old losing their life in combat. send the criminals to iraq and bagdad and maybe they would appreciate their country and each other. we all need to pray. it takes a village!!!!

CINDYLOUWHO
0
Points
CINDYLOUWHO 03/20/07 - 09:59 am
0
0
i don't see how a judge could

i don't see how a judge could say "just" a tragic situation. this is more than tragic. there was no need for them to kill that little boy and i think they should be tortured and left to die a slow and painfu death, all of them. i understand the need to protect ur child bt when ur child grows into an aduklt they r no longer ur responisbility so shame on his parents for their part in all this. maybe this will also be a wake up calll to parents about not just letting children out to play. at that age they still should be supervised

butterflygina
159
Points
butterflygina 03/20/07 - 10:03 am
0
0
There is no way that this a..

There is no way that this a.. was in front of a judge 3 days before taking little christopher and accepted a plea deal has the mental capacity of a child. He is a predator. And I bet there are other victims. With the punishment he received from "violating his parole" he thought he could do just about anything and get away with it. He had already been given a chance to live right when he was born. He messed that up, got in trouble and was warned of the rules. He broke them again....And know he has broken them again. Finally someone can see "NO REFORM" for him. It appears that the only persons who did their job was the police who arrested him....And when they say judges shouldn't let their personal feelings get in the way of sentencing, that's a bunch of crap. Had Judge Stephen sentenced him as if he "rubbed against his grandchildren" or nephews he would still be in jail or at least took more time to think it over before doing it again.

butterflygina
159
Points
butterflygina 03/20/07 - 10:06 am
0
0
And now to children's safety.

And now to children's safety. A child drowned in Aiken only a few days ago in the family's pool. Two children were in a pool at an Acqauatics center during a birthday party. Lifeguards were on duty. They were discovered under water. The girl is hospitalized while her younger brother died. Now two children were visiting their grandmother in NC and they were found entangled in the pool cover. They had arrived at 6am and got out while the adults slept. WE HAVE GOT TO BE MORE CAREFUL. POOL COVERS PROTECT THE POOL FROM DEBRIS, NOT PEOPLE FROM THE POOL. I'm not blaming the adults because these were tragic accidents, but we have to be more deligent with those small kids. And if they run out in the street, it's not to get hit, it's because that is what children do, so don't beat the hell out of them, redirect the behavior. Everyone with a pool take necessary precautions for your friends and loved ones during the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

tturner
0
Points
tturner 03/20/07 - 10:12 am
0
0
This man and his family needs

This man and his family needs to be put under the jail. They should never be able to walk the streets freely again. I really do not understand our legal system, how can they allow a child molester to go free to do the same thing again. If that was their child he would not be free and have a life sentence. My heart goes out to little Christopher's family.

Anne
0
Points
Anne 03/20/07 - 10:24 am
0
0
The laws actually put this

The laws actually put this boy in harms way people. First of all, Edenfield went before the judge 3 days before this child went missing because he was 2 weeks late in having to move because of the new law that prohibits registered sex offenders from living near places where children congregate. He had a clean record for the last 10 years with no history of violence, so no prosecutor is going to ask for jail time because a registered sex offender is 2 weeks late in moving. House Bill 1059 passed last year by our vote seeking legislators prohibit sex offenders from living near playgrounds, schools, churches, etc. Edenfield was living in another location and was forced to move because of HB1059. That's what put him across the street from Barrios. So, the law that we were told was orchestrated to protect our children did exactly the opposite. Would Barrios still be alive if HB1059 was not passed last year? Probably. Don't be fooled when your lawmakers tell you something in an election year (2006).

Drama Mamma
0
Points
Drama Mamma 03/20/07 - 10:28 am
0
0
How about this one you can go

How about this one you can go to jail on a drug charge but not for hurting our children .WHATS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE AND OUR SYSTEM TODAY SHAME ON YOU PEOPLE FOR LETTING HIM GO.

Anne
0
Points
Anne 03/20/07 - 10:41 am
0
0
Please do research on

Please do research on Edenfield's original molestation case! He was convicted of rubbing his clothed body against two male children's clothed bodies 10 years ago. The two boy's family were moving out of state and probably wouldn't be here to testify against him at trial so the DA had two choices. One, to drop the charges or two, to accept a plea of some sort. They agreed on probation. If they had offered a plea of jail time, Edenfield would have taken his chances at trial and the charges would have probably been dropped if the two boys were not here to testify. The DA got what he could out of this case. I am not defending Edenfield's actions 10 years ago. They were deplorable but the DA was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'll say it again...Edenfield had no issues for 10 years until he was forced to move because of House Bill 1059. This new bill put him across the street from Barrios. Lawmakers were told by so many law enforcement organizations, therapists and probation officers that HB1059 would do more harm than good. In this case it most certainly did.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/20/07 - 10:44 am
0
0
My heart breaks for this

My heart breaks for this sweet little boy and his family and all children who are victim to freaks like Edenfield. I believe that any time a person is convicted of molesting a child that they should get jail time and when they get out of jail they should have to wear an ankle monitor the rest fo their lives. Not to say that will stop them all but at least it may deter further crimes by them. Our system is badly broken when it cannot or will not protect our children..........

Diva2007
0
Points
Diva2007 03/20/07 - 12:14 pm
0
0
For the simple fact that

For the simple fact that probation means nothing to those who are put on it. There is more pain behind this story that many fail to see. Our children seems to be the target of many crimes and its soo sad. When I read this i couldn't help but cry. Look at this young boy in this picture whoms life was taking for no reason at all. Surronded by people he probably knew in loved, he probably woke up that morning, not thinkg that someone wanted to hurt him, but thinking that I'm loved and cared for and for someone or anyone to take the life of someone so precious is a serious crime. As i read on and found out that Edenfield only got probation it made me mad for the simple fact that as a grown man you know right from wrong, and it doesn't matter if he had clothes on 10 yrs ago or not, because right is right snd wrong is wrong. . what child will be targeted next. The truth will never be known in a tragic story like this because we live in a world where people seem to think more about themselves and less about others. So now that have evidence and something to hold against him that they didn't have 10yrs ago, PUNISH HIM.

ForHim
2
Points
ForHim 03/20/07 - 12:36 pm
0
0
I think HB1059 was a move in

I think HB1059 was a move in the right direction. If it had not been passed and Edenfield was at the same location, he may have molested and killed someone else that was close by. It's a maybe/maybe not situation. I don't think HB1059 at all was to blame for this particular child's death. I think it was an unfortunate circumstance. There were obviously children close by where he lived previously. He may have just chosen one of them out of convenience. Instead, he had to move and chose the little Barrios boy out of convenience. My prayers are with the child's family. Losing someone in this manner is horific. You are never the same afterward.

Buster1
0
Points
Buster1 03/20/07 - 01:25 pm
0
0
If you molest a child, we

If you molest a child, we should be like the middle east, and cut off his or her heads. The same goes for these men that kidnap women and rape and kill them, You can steal food from a store because your family is hungry and go to jail for at least 10 years,

billy123
0
Points
billy123 03/20/07 - 02:24 pm
0
0
once again anne, I posted

once again anne, I posted this once before, seems you have a thing for protecting child molesters, I am not thinking you are a Child Predator, I strongly feel you are now! Why don't you use your house as a Child Molester Safe House? Sicko!

Anne
0
Points
Anne 03/20/07 - 02:55 pm
0
0
Oh Billy Billy Billy. I am

Oh Billy Billy Billy. I am not protecting anyone. I am just simply posting the facts. I can't see how you could read my posts and think I am protecting this scum Edenfield. Maybe you should read my posts again. I am simply stating that HB1059 surely helped put Edenfield in a position to abduct and kill this poor child. He had 10 years of no incidences under his belt until he was forced to move. No, this absolutely does not excuse his crime (if in fact he is guilty) but HB1059 did NOTHING to keep little Christopher Barrios safe. I still don't see how you concluded that I was protecting Edenfield. It's just sad that our lawmakers are successful in convincing people like you that they have your best interest at heart. They don't Billy but being gullable will certainly get them votes. HB1059 has done nothing to protect our children and in this case, it may have aided in killing one.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/20/07 - 03:53 pm
0
0
I have read all the post but

I have read all the post but I still say if anyone molest a child they should be monitired with an ankle braclet for life.........I don't feel sorry for this man...he knew what he was doing just like his sick family knew they were protecting him...they should all serve life.......to Anne, I don't think you are child abuser protector but I do feel that the justice system doesn't really know what to do, he was made to move because he was living in an area that was close to where children congregate, I don't feel that making hi move had anything to do with it, this man was a time bomb waiting to explode and he did, who knows, he may have done other things that the police don't even know about. I believe there may have been another child adbucted in taht area a few years ago and they haven't found her killer, for all we know he may have been involved in that case also....

shiloh
0
Points
shiloh 03/20/07 - 05:13 pm
0
0
Why is this so shocking? I

Why is this so shocking? I truly believe he has killed before and CAN NOT BE REHABILITATED. He is the reason the death penalty is necessary. And it shouldn't cost tax payers the millions of dollars they say it does to put a child molester/rapist to DEATH. Let's see........$2.00 for a tub of water. $11.99 for a toaster. $1.00 for a knife to expose a few wires on the toaster cord. Last meal......ANYTHING THAT CAN BE SHOVED INTO THE SLOTS OF THE TOASTER AS IT'S BEING DROPPED INTO THE TUB OF WATER HE IS SITTING IN!

getalife
4
Points
getalife 03/20/07 - 06:35 pm
0
0
They can say Edenfield had no

They can say Edenfield had no problems for 10 years, but that is only a guess, many sexual molestation cases are never reported. So maybe he did harm other children. The registration of these people is a joke. That does not protect anyone. Law enforcement only checks on where they live maybe once a year. I say, keep their butts in jail, they are going to do the same crime again if released. Or give them the electric chair. If these sexual predators are going to be released back into the general population, then tattoo a big "X" on their foreheads so everyone can see they are child predators. This would work better than the registration they have to do now!!!

shiloh
0
Points
shiloh 03/20/07 - 07:44 pm
0
0
yeah...... what getalife

yeah...... what getalife said!!!!!
But forget the big X because he shouldn't be out and about for anyone to see it anyways

loranna
0
Points
loranna 03/20/07 - 10:17 pm
0
0
It doesn't matter the extent

It doesn't matter the extent of the molestation he did 10 yrs ago. He was charged, the DA could have spent tax money to make sure the boys were here to testify & hopefully, he would be in jail now. It has been said that he hasn't done anything in the last 10 yrs. Truth probably is he hasn't been caught. He should have never been given the chance to do anything again. I have a 3 yr old & imagine I would go insane if anyone ever touched her. I pray for this boys family & hope God will be with them. I believe God has mercy but I wish he would look the other way when it comes to these predators & those who try to cover it up!

Anne
0
Points
Anne 03/20/07 - 10:53 pm
0
0
A couple of points I need to

A couple of points I need to make here. Any registered sex offender that is on probation has to submit to polygraphs anywhere from 1 to 4 times a year, so if Edenfield had some skeletons in his closet during the last 10 years, his polygrapher, therapist and probation officer would have known about it and he would have been in jail for sure. I work for the state in a capacity that affords me quite a bit of knowledge about these people. There is no way that Edenfield had re-offended while on probation. It would have shown up on his polygraphs. And another point I need to make to GETALIFE..(and please don't assume I am taking up for this scum)..You are dead wrong about sex offenders doing the same crime again once released. Child sex crimes has the lowest recidivsm rate of all felonies including murder, DUI, assault, drug dealing, etc. The chance of a sex offender repeating his crime is about 5%. That is if they are in therapy, have a stable home life and a job. The myth that the politicians want you to believe is that they will all reoffend and that is simply not the case.

Shortcake034
0
Points
Shortcake034 03/20/07 - 11:05 pm
0
0
The system sucks when it

The system sucks when it comes to protecting our children. I can remember back when I was a child my friends and I didn't have to worry about sick-o's like that. We could run and play and be free. Sad to say, not in today's world. I am a mother and a very protective one at that. You just can't take your eyes off of them for a second!!! As for Edenfield and all the other sick-o's in the world that take advantage of our innocent little ones, I hope you rot in hell.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs