State of New Mexico vs. Megan Barry

Megan Barry graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in Silverado, New Mexico, on May 29, 2010. She was 17 years old, and an active and successful student who had received a scholarship to Stanford University. Barry was also seven months pregnant, and was expected to give birth at the end of July 2010. It was her intent to give the child up for adoption.

Following the graduation ceremony on May 29, Barry attended a party that evening at the home of another 2010 BFHS graduate, Blake Colvin. Unbeknownst to Ms. Colvin’s parents, a keg of beer and some cases of bottled beer had been hidden in a storage building behind their house. Several of the guests, including Barry, visited the storage building during the party to partake of the alcohol.

During the party, some of the graduates, including Barry, decided to drive to the Grand Canyon in Arizona to watch the sunrise. At approximately 10:30 PM, Barry left Silverado alone in her sports utility vehicle, a 2005 Zuisu Gazelle, driving west on I-29, where the speed limit varied, depending on location, between 65 mph and 75 mph. A little more than an hour later, approaching Rye, New Mexico, and still on the interstate, Barry lost control of the vehicle, struck the guardrail, and rolled over.

Lt. Marty Pacheco, who had been proceeding east on I-29 but had turned around to follow Barry after she had passed him, driving, according to her/his testimony, erratically and at a high rate of speed, was first to arrive at the scene of the accident. S/He administered a field sobriety test, which Barry failed, and three breathalyzer tests with results of .04, .07 and .08.

Barry was transported by ambulance to New Mexico College Hospital, where her baby was delivered by e mergency cesarean section at about 5:30 AM on May 30, 2010. The 4½ pound boy, Baby Doe, died two days later. Cytogenetic testing confirmed that he had been born with Trisomy 13, a chromosomal disorder that causes severe mental retardation, physical abnormalities and, often, death.

Barry has been charged by the Rye County District Attorney with Homicide by Vehicle in the death of her son. At trial, the prosecution will call Frances/Francis Baykon, a friend of Barry’s who will testify that Barry drank alcohol at the graduation party; Lt. Pacheco, who will testify that Barry’s intoxication and recklessness caused the accident; and, Dr. Dakota Griffin, who will testify that the accident caused the death of Baby Doe.

The defense will call the defendant’s sister/brother, Logan Barry, who will testify that Barry was not impaired when she left Silverado; Dr. Madison James, who will testify that the accident was not caused by Barry’s drinking but by the instability of the vehicle she was driving; and, Dr. Taylor McGraw, who will testify that Baby Doe’s death was not caused by the accident but by his birth defect. 

Written by Michelle Giger, Karl Johnson, Esq., and H. Nicole Werkmeister, Esq.

Thanks to Darryl Cordle, Esq., Jessica Hass, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and Neil Schamban, MD