TAYLOR COUNTY—A defendant ready for sentencing will have to wait, after Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats heard testimony that raised some concerns.
Steven Randall Barker was present with his defense counsel, Scott Shough, in Taylor County Circuit Court to admit guilt to two charges brought forth by way of information from Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John Bord.
After an altercation with a female in June 2021, Barker was charged with one count of second offense domestic battery, as well as one count of strangulation.
According to court documents, the defendant allegedly put his hands around his girlfriend’s neck after a fight escalated.
When Moats questioned if the facts presented were true, Barker hesitated before saying, “I was very drunk at the time. I don’t know if it was my hands, but I definitely choked her somehow.”
Moats then further asked how Barker could be sure he even acted in such manner if he was highly intoxicated.
“If she said I did it, then I did. I saw some footage from the officer’s body cam, but I was too drunk to completely remember what happened,” Barker disclosed.
Barker had been previously convicted in Taylor County Magistrate court for domestic battery after an attack on a previous girlfriend in December 2019.
He admitted to the court that his girlfriend, the victim in the case, was present with him in court during the hearing and that they had “worked things out.”
“Mr. Baker has a serious issue with alcohol. He has taken it upon himself to remedy that issue and has taken steps to repair the relationship with his victim in this case,” Shough voiced to the court. “My client has maintained sobriety. The matter seems to have been resolved through positive behavior.”
It was during those comments that questions arose for Moats, who noted that the bond agreement stated Barker was to have no contact with his victim until the resolution of the case.
“You haven’t complied with that bond stipulation at all,” he voiced. “The magistrate ordered that you have absolutely no contact with the victim. It was not your call to make. And frankly, it was not her call to make either.”
After dismissing Baker’s victim from the courtroom, Moats told him that if he were to sentence him in that moment, he would impose a prison sentence due to the clear disregard for the rules set for him.
“I am ordering a presentence investigation be completed before I set the matter down for sentencing,” Moats imparted. “Until the report is complete, I will allow your bond to continue. However, I cannot impress upon you enough that you are to have absolutely no contact whatsoever, direct or indirect, with the victim. If you violate these terms again, you will go directly to prison.”