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It’s Never Too Late for Justice: Daisy Coleman

Daisy Coleman, one of the main subjects of the Netflix documentary, Audrie and Daisy, recently committed suicide on August 4, 2020 at age 23. Daisy was living in Colorado, working as a tattoo artist at the time of her death, and was producing a documentary called Saving Daisy about her PTSD and recovery from her rape at age 14.

Daisy Coleman was featured on the Audrey and Daisy Netflix documentary describing rape culture.

Daisy was found after her mother called police to do a welfare check, who stated about her daughter’s death, “She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it’s just not fair. My baby girl is gone. She was my best friend and amazing daughter. I think she had to make it seem like I could live without her. I can’t. I wish I could have taken the pain from her!”

On the same morning that Coleman ended her life, she had filed a harassment complaint against a stalker, who had been harassing her for weeks. Daisy began to feat that he was trying to break into her home as he turned up uninvited, and posted her phone number on Craigslist with a fake ad offering sex acts.

As a close friend said, “she would rather kill herself than let this man kill her.”

Daisy was also an advocate of SafeBAE, “a survivor founded, teen lead organization educating middle and high-school students about healthy relationships, dating violence and sexual assault, affirmative consent, bystander intervention, survivor self-care, and Title IX rights.”

Daisy Coleman, co-founder of SafeBAE

When Daisy was 14, she was raped by Matt Barnett, a 17-year old classmate of her older brother at Maryville High School.

Here’s what happened to Daisy in her own words, written in an essay to XO

Paige is my best friend. Watching scary movies was always our thing. So, that’s how we kicked off our night, along with alcoholic beverages. My mom didn’t know we were drinking, and I was not supposed to be.

That night I was texting with a boy that my older brother had warned me about, but I didn’t listen. Looking back, I wish I did.

It wasn’t until later that night that Matt, a popular senior boy, had asked to hang out. Of course, I knew my brothers wouldn’t allow this so, we had to sneak out. It was about one in the morning when my friend and I climbed out of my bedroom window. I was not interested in Matt romantically. I considered him my older brother’s friend. I trusted my older brother. I trusted Matt.

Matt picked us up in a black car and drove us to his house. He had to sneak us through a basement window.

There were bedrooms and a living room area in the basement. I sat on the couch and gathered familiar faces from the room. Four of Matt’s friends were there. Matt emerged from one of the bedrooms with a bottle of clear alcohol he wanted me to drink. This is when one of Matt’s friends suggested I drink from a tall shot glass, which they labeled the “bitch cup.”

About five shots tall, I drank it. I guess I didn’t know how badly it would mess me up. But the boys who gave it to me did.

Then it was like I fell into a dark abyss. No light anywhere. Just dark, dense silence — and cold. That’s all I could ever remember from that night. Apparently, I was there for not even an entire hour before they discarded me in the snow.

Matt Barnett, who was the boy who raped Daisy Coleman, was the grandson of a prominent politician, Rex Barnett (more on that in a bit.)

The other boys who were present at the house included: Nickolas Groumoutis, Jordan Zech, Cole Forney, and an unnamed minor (15). The unnamed minor raped Daisy’s friend, Paige Parkhurst, who was 13 and in the 8th grade.

Matthew Barnett raped Daisy Coleman when she was 14 years old.

In the shocking interrogation video, Barnett admits to having sex with Daisy – 14 is the age of consent in the state of Missouri – but said it was consensual and that Daisy did not drink heavily until afterwards. However, it is important to reiterate that Daisy and Paige were at Matt’s house for the span of an hour – and Daisy was drunk (Matt uses the words “buzzed” in the interrogation) prior to her arrival.

Matthew Barnett invited a 14 and 13 year old to his house for sex.

How much time was there for Daisy to consume that much alcohol, when her BAC when tested at the hospital hours later, was at .13. That is HOURS later, which just by deduction, she was close to blood poisoning levels when she was dropped off by Barnett and left in the snow, in freezing conditions until she was found by her mother in the morning, her hair frozen. 

At that point, she was unable to speak properly or walk on her own, and her mother noticed as shew as getting her into a cool bath, that she was red in her groin area – that’s when the rape kit was performed and her BAC was tested. By the way – Daisy is lucky she didn’t die from hypothermia or blood poisoning, which could have led to an involuntary manslaughter charge, for example.

A tweet by Matthew Barnett, the rapist of Daisy Coleman

Also of note, Jordan Zech used Nick Groumoutis‘s cell phone to record the rape, but claimed he thought they were just ‘dry humping.’ In the interrogation video, Groumatis confirms both parties were nude. The video was deleted – after reportedly being passed around the school – but never retrieved by law enforcement.

Paige’s rapist confessed and was convicted in juvenile court.

Rex Barnett, Matt Barnett’s grandfather, served 32 years with the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Troop H, then in 1994, the Republican was elected as a state representative, serving four terms before leaving the House in 2002.

Additionally, Barnett has political ties to prosecutor Rice, who dropped the sexual assault charges against Barnett for “lack of evidence.” Barnett’s granddaughter, or Matt’s cousin, worked as a volunteer on the campaign of U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, who also employs Rice’s sister as an aide in constituent services.

Rex Barnett who used his influence to get his grandson Matthew off the hook.The ties of the boys families runs deep –  a reporter visited Maryville police to obtain copies of Zech’s arrest record, for instance, the department employee who pulled the file was the mother of one of the five boys at the Barnett home that night.

Daisy faced an incredible amount of bullying and backlash from her high school and the town of Maryville, calling her shocking names, harassing her, and claiming that Daisy was drunk, not incapacitated, and got what she asked for.

Sheriff Darren White is clueless. Please, vote this guy OUT of the sheriff’s seat this 2020.

Even the Sheriff, Darren White, who by the way is up for re-election this year, so there’s ample opportunity to vote this man out of office, said shocking and vile things on camera in the Audrie and Daisy documentary, including mentioning how the boys were the only ones who seemed to want to move on, that the word “rape” is thrown around quite a bit, and Daisy’s case does not meet the legal threshold, despite Daisy being incapacitated. He also reportedly slipped a note to the cameraman saying “teenage girls lie.” 

More of Darren White being clueless.

The group Anonymous shed light on this case that shot Maryville and the dropped case into international spotlight.

The case received a secondary review by a separate jurisdiction, where again, the charge of sexual assault was not brought forth, only a lesser charge of child endangerment found a conviction with a sentence of probation. Paige’s rapist confessed and was convicted in juvenile court of rape.

Justice for these girls has never been served, and Matt Barnett, the rapist has walked free, along with his friends  Nickolas Groumoutis, Jordan Zech, and Cole Forney, who are all culpable for their participation in fueling the girls with alcohol, filming the rape, and standing by as it all happened.

If we can’t get justice for Daisy by putting these men in jail and labeling them as sex offenders, then you should at least  know their names.

Daisy, this one’s for you.

Rest In Peace Daisy Coleman

Hosted by
Jon Perry

Hey y'all I'm the main story teller on our podcast episodes. You can suggest stories for me to cover by leaving a comment on any post on this site, which I will see and respond to. If you want to listen and subscribe to the podcast just search Talk Murder To Me in any podcasting app. Thanks for reading, please share!