LUBBOCK, Texas – Larry Barth first met then-Lisa Fish in 1986 when they were both 17.
“When I met her, we were living up in the San Gabriel mountains in Los Angeles,” said Barth. “She had a 3-year-old son named Kaleb.”
A few years later, the couple got married and moved to Wolfforth, Texas so they could live closer to Lisa’s family in eastern New Mexico.
“We used to live in these small trailers and Kaleb would walk in on us having sex,” said Barth.
Larry’s sister Louann said the marriage wasn’t good from the start.
“In between sharing him with all the other women and the beatings, I had a miscarriage,” said Lisa. “I had been kicked in the stomach over and over again.”
“Oh yes, there was infidelity within the marriage,” said Barth. “I was unfaithful.”
In the late summer of 1992, Lisa was changing the diaper of her younger son Jared, who was 2 years old. She noticed that he was bleeding near his anal area and demanded answers from her older son Kaleb, who was 9.
“I spanked Kaleb because I needed to know what was going on,” said Lisa. “He wouldn’t tell me at first but finally, he told me that Larry had taken his cutting knife and cut him.”
Kaleb said that on July 26, 1992, Barth had sexually assaulted him and Jared. Barth denied ever having physically or sexually abusing either boy.
“I never physically abused my sons nor did I ever sexually abuse my sons,” said Barth.
Barth said on the day of the alleged assaults, he went toy shopping at the South Plains Mall with his sons before dropping them off at their grandmother’s home.
“My sister took me to the doctor in Hobbs, New Mexico, and they said that the scars that Jared and Kaleb both had looked like penetration,” said Lisa.
Lisa said that initially, she did not believe Kaleb’s story, but does believe it now.
“Do I think he did it? Yes,” said Lisa.
Barth, however, said that Kaleb didn’t say anything about being raped for two weeks.
“I was with my family two weeks after that,” said Barth. “Kaleb never said anything about being raped in those two weeks.”
In 1993, two sexual assault charges were filed against Barth.
Barth said he believes that because Kaleb and a female cousin would occasionally perform sexual acts on each other, Jared eventually became a victim to that behavior.
“This is a case of siblings playing nasty with each other,” said Barth.
On April 7, 1993, Barth was arrested. He bonded out of the Lubbock County Detention Center a few days later.
On September 14, 1994, Barth was convicted and sentenced to serve two consecutive 30-year sentences in prison.
“In the court as a defendant [when] the state’s witness are a mother and child, it’s a losing battle no matter what,” said Barth. “I was falsely accused of sexually assaulting my son Kaleb and my son Jared. That could be the end of the story right there but then, I was wrongly convicted for that.”
In 2002, Kaleb, who was then 20, spent the Christmas holiday with Larry’s mother, Carolyn Myers in southern California. Myers had maintaned a relationship with her step-grandson, even while Barth was in prison.
Myers, a popular businesswoman, provided Kaleb with a job and 80s-style Cadillac car to drive. Kaleb had recently dropped out of high school.
On April 3, 2003, Kaleb recanted his orginal confession from 1992.
In the recantation, Kaleb said Barth was an innocent man who, “deserved to be freed.”
“Evidence was presented from our side that he believed that he would receive some type of compensation for the recantation,” said Wade Jackson, former prosecutor with the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office.
Lisa said that Kaleb was offered a house and a car by Myers to recant his confession. According to testimony given by Kaleb at Barth’s appeal hearing, Kaleb said he was not bribed and never told Lisa that he was bribed.
On September 11, 2003, 137th District Judge Cecil Puryear rejected Kaleb’s testimony. Puryear believed the young man had financial incentive for recanting his testimony.
“I was kept in prison by Lubbock County because they knew they would liable for this wrongful conviction,” said Barth.
However, Jackson disagreed with Barth’s statement.
“I’m not in this prosecution game for over 25 years to put innocent people in jail,” Jackson said.
Barth served another 15 years in state prison before being granted early release on parole in 2018. Barth is now a registered sex offender in Midland County, Texas.
“Every aspect of my life is affected by this wrongful conviction,” said Barth. “My employment, my relationships, and at this point, I could not even fall in love with a woman who has children.”
EverythingLubbock.com attempted to contact Kaleb and Jared for this story, but our calls were never returned.