Man receives life sentence for killing woman and her preborn baby

By Nancy Flanders

An Ohio man has admitted to killing a 22-year-old woman and her preborn baby in May of 2022, shooting her three times in the head in front of her two-year-old son. Homicide is currently the leading cause of death among pregnant women in the U.S.

According to the Herald-Star, Joshua Jerome Woodland, age 31, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 29 years after pleading guilty to killing Carol Jeanne Barnett “with a firearm specification” and to involuntary manslaughter for the death of her preborn baby. He received three years for the firearm specification, 15 years to life for killing Barnett, and 11 years for causing her preborn baby’s death. Barnett was about three weeks pregnant at the time.

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin told Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese before the sentencing that it was “one of the most senseless crimes I have ever seen.” Apparently, Woodland believed that Barnett had laced his marijuana with something, so he killed her. 

Blood tests showed he was “over twice the legal limit in terms of alcohol intoxication” and THC was in his system as well at the time of the murder. Though Hanlin was clear in pointing out that this is not an excuse for the killings, which she called “a horrific and senseless loss of a mother and her unborn child.”

Woodland had already spent 532 days in prison following his June 2022 indictment, which will count towards his sentencing.

The judge told Woodland that he could have the second charge against him — involuntary murder of the baby — reviewed and possibly revised because he didn’t know Barnett was pregnant when he killed her. After consideration, he waived that right.

“I just want to get it done today, I just want to keep going,” he said. he told the court, “I’m sorry to the family and my family, for putting them through this pain.”

According to a report from The BMJ research journal, “Women in the US are more likely to be murdered during pregnancy or soon after childbirth than to die from the three leading obstetric causes of maternal death (high blood pressure disorders, hemorrhage, or sepsis).”

Rebecca Lawn of the Harvard School of Public Health said that most pregnancy-related homicides are associated with intimate partner violence and guns. Firearms were used in 68% of homicides of pregnant women and their preborn babies between 2008 and 2019.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and reposted with permission.