In March 2016, Jordan Jamison crashed an SUV while under the influence of methamphetamine, killing her 14-year-old step-daughter.
She could avoid most of her prison sentence for the incident, however, if she successfully completes a prison-based treatment program, a judge told her last week.
Her sentence is more severe than what her former husband, James Barnes, received for their respective roles in the crash. As the driver, the sentencing judge found her more culpable for the incident, he said at Jamison’s sentencing hearing Thursday.
Jamison, 26, was driving the SUV along Black Cat Road southwest of Meridian on March 31, 2016, when she and Barnes began arguing and physically fighting in the front seats. Autumn Barnes, 14, was riding in the backseat. The fight ended when the vehicle rolled near Amity Road. Autumn was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the backseat. She died at the scene.
Jamison pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child.
Fourth District Judge Jonathan Medema sentenced Jamison to serve seven years in prison, completing at least two years before she would be eligible for parole. But he then retained jurisdiction on the case, assigning her to serve a treatment program while incarcerated for the first year. If she follows the rules of the program, the judge could choose to release Jamison onto probation for the remainder of her sentence.
Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Kassandra Slaven called the case “heartbreaking and tragic,” noting that Jamison admitted to using meth that day, staying awake all night and to the fight with James Barnes.
“What happened the morning of March 31, 2016, was completely avoidable and senseless and should never have happened,” Slaven told the judge.
Slaven outlined that Jamison does have significant mental health issues that must be addressed. But to her credit, Slaven said, Jamison has passed urine tests for drug and alcohol use since her release from jail, meeting the circumstances of her pretrial release.
Defense attorney Anthony Geddes said his client is very remorseful about the accident.
“She is heartbroken about this situation, is very quick to emotion and has told me repeatedly that Autumn was someone she loved as her own child and treated her as her own child,” Geddes said.
Geddes said Jamison is bipolar, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, has had at least two suicide attempts and has survived a lifetime of abuse.
He argued that James Barnes was the person who started the fight.
Prior to sentencing, Medema told Jamison that because she was driving the vehicle, she is more culpable than James Barnes for the crash. Her lifestyle around drug use was another concern for the judge.
Medema said he did not see any remorse from Jamison in her pre-sentence investigation reports.
“It appeared to me that you do not appreciate your role in this event,” Medema said in court.
In May, James Barnes was sentenced to five years of probation and 90 days in jail for his role in the crash. Medema granted Barnes a withheld judgment, meaning that if Barnes complies with the circumstances of his probation, he could ask that the charge be dismissed from his record.
“I don’t know that I can punish you more than you’ve punished yourself over the loss of your daughter,” Medema said at his sentencing.
James Barnes filed for divorce two weeks after the wreck. The divorce was finalized that August.