Bill Eddins, State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit of Florida, announced today that Maria Rodriguez Barnes, 31, was indicted by the Okaloosa County Grand Jury for First Degree Premeditated Murder With a Firearm.
The charge arose from the March 25, 2020, murder of Barnes’ 5-month-old son, Jaxxon Rodriguez Barnes, in her vehicle at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. On the morning of the murder, Maria Rodriguez Barnes sent a lengthy text message to her husband and an email to her father, both of which appeared to be suicide notes that also mentioned her son, Jaxxon. She was discovered by Cox Communications personnel, who called 911, and she was treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound at an area hospital. Jaxxon Barnes was already deceased from a single gunshot wound when first responders arrived. Video surveillance confirmed that no one approached or left the vehicle until Maria Rodriguez Barnes was discovered by the Cox Communications personnel.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Office of State Attorney will conduct a death penalty review within the next 30 days.
The investigation was conducted by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant State Attorney Clifton Drake is responsible for the prosecution. Any questions may be directed to Mr. Drake at (850) 689-5620.