BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. — A 36-year-old Breckenridge man who pleaded guilty in July to second-degree murder in the death of his toddler son was sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 10, to 25 years in prison.
Tracy Norman Brant was accused of killing his 3-year-old son Winter Sky Barker, who was found dead with blunt-force injuries in the family's apartment on April 10, 2018.
According to court documents, police responded to an incident at the apartment that morning and found Brant performing chest compressions on the 3-year-old, who had no pulse and was not breathing.
Emergency crews were not able to revive Barker. Brant’s girlfriend said the boy had bumps on his head and bruises but was fine the day before, according to court documents.
An autopsy report listed Barker's cause of death as chemical peritonitis due to his stomach being perforated by blunt-force trauma. Investigators deemed the death a homicide, court documents stated.
The pathologist who performed the autopsy told an investigator that she found fractures on either side of the boy's rib cage and that the injuries would have caused the boy chronic pain, according to court documents, which said the pathologist found evidence of a pattern of abuse.
Brant lived in a Breckenridge apartment with his girlfriend and Barker. Three other children also lived in the apartment, including a 2-year-old, 1-year-old and a 2-month-old.
After Barker’s mother, Korey Rosales, was jailed, Brant received full custody of the children in January 2018.
In a written victim impact statement read aloud at Tuesday's sentencing in Wilkin County District Court, Rosales mourned the loss of her son and recounted when custody was turned over to Brant.
“Tracy, you promised the judge that you wanted Winter to live in a safe healthy life, in a safe healthy environment, but was he?” she asked Brant. "I was told you could never love Winter as your own and you didn’t really want him … why take him from a family that loved and cared about him most? He was fine with where he was.”
The sentence handed down by Judge Charles Glasrud on Tuesday is twice as long as the normal 180-month sentence for second-degree murder because of the victim's young age.
Brant also faced charges of first-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, third-degree assault of a victim under 4 and malicious punishment of a child. Those charges were dropped in July as part of a plea agreement.
Brant is being held at the Wilkin County Jail, where he has been since his April 2018 arrest.
Victim impact statements from Winter Sky Barker's mother, Korey Rosales, and grandmother Rita Finley (handwritten):