TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa man whose wife died after he beat her unconscious and claimed her resulting death was actually due to long-term kidney failure has been sentenced to 12 years in jail.
In 2021, Phoebe Kelly Barker clung to life as she entered the hospital with bruises all over her body, broken bones, severe burns on her arm and a brain bleed. Before she died, a nurse said Phoebe said "her husband got aggressive with her and beat her up against her will."
Photos from the hospital showed Phoebe's eye was bruised and swollen, and she was placed on a ventilator.
Her husband, 61-year-old Anthony Barker said his wife had fallen out of the bed. After his arrest, his lawyers told a judge Phoebe suffered from kidney failure and that's what killed her.
Barker was originally charged with second-degree murder and aggravated battery, but in December 2022, the jury heard Barker's case and didn't believe his story.
They convicted him of manslaughter.
During his sentencing hearing Tuesday, Barker maintained his claim that his wife died from a chronic disease, not from domestic abuse.
Staring at years in prison, Barker begged for mercy while admitting to nothing.
"I have to say I didn’t do what they said I did," sobbed Barker.
To those in court, the victim was Phoebe Barker. To family, who called her by her middle name – Kelly – she was a light that will forever be missed.
Her mother, Phoebe Conklin, asked the judge to give Barker the maximum sentence allowed by law.
"It’s totally shocking to me that somebody would take my daughter's life," said Conklin.
Phoebe "Kelly" Barker's sister, Tammy Shook, spoke directly to the man convicted of taking a life.
"Tony I don’t understand why you felt the need to beat Kelly to death. What made you think this was an appropriate way to treat your wife?" asked Shook.
That was followed by Tampa judge Christopher Sabella, who handed down his sentence.
"Manslaughter is a serious second-degree felony where someone’s innocent life was taken," said Sabella.
And for that, Barker will spend the next 12 years locked up, with 24 months of community control and 12 years of probation after.