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DCFS records to be released to defense in Ta'Naja Barnes murder case

DCFS records to be released to defense in Ta'Naja Barnes murder case


DECATUR — A judge ruled Wednesday that the public defender representing Anthony Myers will have access to state records and information related to the care of Ta’Naja Barnes, the 2-year-old Decatur girl Myers is accused of murdering through neglect, starvation and exposure.

Myers also faces a charge of endangering the life and health of a child causing death; he is pleading not guilty on all counts. His girlfriend and Ta’Naja’s mother, 21-year-old Twanka L. Davis, faces the same charges and is also pleading not guilty.

The case of Davis came up in Macon County Circuit Court on Tuesday when Judge Thomas Griffith ruled her defense team, along with prosecutors, must receive all copies of documents subpoenaed from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

In an identical pretrial hearing for Myers on Wednesday, Griffith gave the same access to his defense counsel, Scott Rueter. The state agency documents are seen as crucial because of Ta’Naja’s history of being in and out of care before being allowed to live with Myers and Davis. Ta'Naja was found dead in their home amid filthy conditions on Feb. 11. 

The documents may also shed light on the role of Decatur’s Webster-Cantrell Hall in her death. Webster-Cantrell was contracted by DCFS to provide foster care and other assistance to the child. The local agency has referred all requests for comment to the state.

Myers, who is being held in custody, was told his case is now set for a pretrial hearing Sept. 11.

Davis also remains in custody; her next court date is Sept. 10.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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