PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A state deputy attorney general and his wife accused of abusing their adoptive children, will get their biological children back.
The birth children of Douglas and Kristen Barbour were taken away after they were charged with starving one Ethiopian adoptive child and physically abusing the other.
After a hearing Thursday morning, Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning, following the finding of a family court judge, ruled the couple’s 2-year-old biological child can be returned to them immediately.
However, the 5- year-old, whom prosecutors plan to call as a witness in the abuse case, cannot return to them until she testifies in a deposition next week.
Prosecutors put on an expert witness this morning who raised concerns that the 5-year-old’s testimony might be influenced by her parents should she return home before a trial. The judge then ordered that her testimony be preserved and recorded next week prior to trial.
After that, she can be returned to her parents.
Attorney Robert Stewart, who represents Kristen Barbour, told KDKA-TV’s Harold Hayes after the hearing, “With regard to the older child, the DA’s office apparently intends to call her as a witness and they’re concerned that once she is returned to the biological parents, that they’re going to influence her somehow. So, in order to get around that, Judge Manning kind of did a Solomon thing and literally cut the baby in half by ordering the testimony preserved by way of deposition. That way this witness is testifying as of probably next Tuesday and so the issue of taint no longer exists.”
Attorney Charles Porter, who represents Douglas Barbour said, “We’re more than happy to move the case forward now by preserving that testimony assuming its even competent testimony, which of course will be the first issue we’ll have to deal with before we get into whether or not there’s actual testimony to be preserved.”
The trial is tentatively scheduled for July.