EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — The mother of a boy who was killed in Eagle Mountain is upset after manslaughter charges were filed against the driver who allegedly crashed through a fence, killing two 3-year-old boys instantly.
“Our family is taking this very seriously,” Theresa Ratliff, mother of 3-year-old Odin Ratliff said, adding she feels “a lot of anger and a lot of hurt.”
The suspect, Kent Cody Barlow was charged by Utah County Attorney David Leavitt with two counts of manslaughter.
“Secondary felony is the most serious charge that under state law we can charge,” Leavitt said.
Each of the two counts of manslaughter carry a maximum of 15 years in prison. No other charges for alleged drug use, speeding, or parole violations are being sought.
“Lesser charges such as that would've been included and dealt away," Leavitt said.
Instead, his strategy will be to not bargain and only seek the two charges.
"I'm shocked that he can't be charged with something that gets him life because in my opinion, that is what he should be getting,” Ratliff explained. “You're talking about a man who was already in prison serving...and got out.”
During the press conference, Leavitt said that he hadn’t been in contact with the victim's families but that his office had.
Ratliff said she first received a call Wednesday night which she returned Thursday morning adding that she felt “blindsided,” by the lack of time coming with those charges.
Now, Ratliff says she wishes she would have been a part of the conversation.
“If I would have known that there were these meetings happening, I would have gotten legal representation the next day,” she said.
While each charge is a max of 15 years, Leavitt hopes if convicted, Barlow will serve back-to-back sentences rather than concurrent for a maximum of 30 years.
“It's our belief that a judge is more likely to give a consecutive sentence,” he said. “In a case like this when when when the judge hears and weighs the evidence along with a jury.”
For the Ratliff family, whether it's Utah law or the way this case is being brought, it isn’t the justice they wanted.
“It's hard to know what legal avenues to go down but I'm ready to spend my life fixing things if that's what it takes.” Ratliff said. “I want to meet with the people that make these decisions. I want to understand I want to know, What needs to change what needs to be fixed and why aren't we taking it seriously?”