Lonna Barton pleads guilty to two counts, sentencing hearing pushed back

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Lonna Barton, the mother of missing toddler Lonzie Barton, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in a Duval County courtroom to two counts including child neglect and lying to police.

Barton entered the plea at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Mark Borello's courtroom. She had been scheduled for a pretrial hearing at that time.

The state said Barton will provide "truthful testimony" if called to testify against Ruben Ebron, law enforcement's chief suspect in the disappearance of Lonzie, at his upcoming trial scheduled for Monday, Jan. 11

Barton faces up to five years in prison for the child neglect charge and one year in jail for lying to police, Judge Borello said.

Kevin Carlisle, Barton's defense attorney, said she was "ready to accept responsibility."

"She's frustrated she doesn't know where her son is," Carlisle said.

Barton's guilty plea does not impact her drug charges in Baker County.

Barton is due back in court at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 29 for a sentencing hearing. The judge said he will take sentencing recommendations on how much time Barton should serve at a later date.

Ebron is also scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of the same judge. His parents were in attendance at Barton's hearing.

Lonzie went missing in July after Ebron told police his car was stolen with the toddler inside from an apartment complex on Jacksonville's southside.

Later, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said said they believed Ebron to be lying and arrested him on child neglect charges just days after the child went missing.

In September, JSO released surveillance video that police say discredits Ebron's story about what exactly happened to Lonzie.

Barton was arrested a month later on charges of lying to police and child neglect.

That's after she allegedly acknowledged that she noticed her son had some kind of head injury in the days leading up to his disappearance, but left him in Ebron's care anyway.

Barton, police said, also initially lied when confronted by investigators the morning Lonzie went missing July 24, allegedly saying she did not know Ebron, whom investigators have since concluded she had a romantic relationship with.


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