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Death penalty sought for Orlando women accused of killing toddler

Deputies say 3-year-old boy was beaten after drinking milk from jug

Booking photos of Callene Barton, Brandi Mokarzel and Lakesha Lewis.
Booking photos of Callene Barton, Brandi Mokarzel and Lakesha Lewis.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two Orlando women accused of beating a 3-year-old boy because he drank out of the milk jug will be facing the death penalty in their first-degree murder trials, according to recently filed court documents.

Callene Barton and Lakesha Lewis were two of three women arrested after Xavier Mokarzel-Satchel, 3, was found unconscious at an apartment on Silver Star Road in July. The boy died at an area hospital, deputies said.

The child's mother, Brandi Mokarzel, told deputies that she woke up that morning to the sound of Barton -- who is the mother of her girlfriend, Lewis -- yelling at the toddler for drinking milk from the jug and eating yogurt from the refrigerator.

Deputies said Lewis beat the boy with a rod used to turn blinds and Barton grabbed the boy by his arms and legs and threw him down the hallway, causing his neck to turn. Xavier had a seizure after being thrown, the report said.

Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brad King's office filed a notice to seek the death penalty against Barton and Lewis on Sept. 28.

King's office is prosecuting the case after Gov. Rick Scott removed it from Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who has said that her office will not seek capital punishment.

The notice filed against Barton lists four aggravating circumstances that King believes makes the death penalty appropriate in this case: Barton's prior felony conviction, the case involves aggravated child abuse, the victim was less than 12 years old and the victim was particularly vulnerable because Barton had custodial authority over him.

The notice to seek the death penalty for Lewis was not immediately available.

Both women are facing charges of first-degree murder and neglect of a child causing great bodily harm.

Mokarzel was charged with child neglect causing great bodily harm.


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