SEATTLE—Daniel Barriault is serving a time-out for a crime the 5-year-old claims he didn’t commit. Charged with possession of three Oreo cookies only a half-hour before supper and sentenced to a bare 8-by-12-inch bedroom corner for eight minutes, Barriault has had just one thing on his mind while waiting for his release. One thing and three people.
"Just a little while longer now," said Barriault, who slowly counted down his corner term to 20 before becoming confused and having to start all over again. "I’ve learned my lesson, but what they don’t realize is that their lesson has not even yet begun."
After four failed getaway attempts into the basement, Barriault was apprehended early Monday evening by household penal authorities Mommy and Daddy, likely operating on an anonymous tip from the "queen of all snitches," Barriault’s older sister, Ashley, 7.
"I may have been innocent when they put me in here, but I’m sure as heck not innocent now," said Barriault, who has served time-outs for a wide range of offenses over the years, including public misconduct, second-degree assault of a sibling, and vandalism misdemeanors when only 17 months old. "They took eight minutes of my life away, eight minutes of playtime I’ll never get back, eight minutes of cartoons I’ll never get the chance to experience—and for that, they will pay."
Monday’s capture of the young repeat offender was followed by a lengthy and disorderly trial, in which Barriault, who chose to represent himself, deliberately disrupted the proceedings by screaming and running around in circles until he had to be forcibly detained. Barriault alleges that he was then escorted with unnecessary force to his bedroom, made to empty out his pockets of three Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards before being "worked over good by Mom" and receiving his sentence.
It remains unclear whether Barriault was ever offered a deal for apologizing for his behavior.
"In this corner, you have plenty of time to think," said Barriault, who claimed to have "tons of friends on the outside," including Jimmy, Josh, and Nana and Papa. "I know exactly what I’m going to do when my time is up. Who I’m going to visit. Plans? Yeah, you could say I’ve got some plans."
According to Barriault, being in the corner "is unlike anything else in the world." It can break the spirit of even the toughest of 5-year-olds, crush their confidence, and reduce them to nothing more than a "stupid little baby."
"This place, it can make a preschooler forget who they are, why it is they don’t like to share their Matchbox cars with other kids, what exactly about the taste of cauliflower makes it so yucky," added Barriault, who admitted that he can no longer remember what the touch of a good crayon feels like. "I wouldn’t wish this place on my worst enemies. No. I’ve got something entirely different in store for them."
Fidgeting either in anticipation of his release or from a growing urge to use the bathroom, Barriault told reporters Monday that despite not even being in the first grade, he never forgets a face.
"I’ve done my time. I’ve been a good little boy who’s seen the error of his ways," said Barriault with a smile. "And as soon as I get out, I’ll make things right. I’ll make sure everything gets made right. Cross my heart and hope to die."
"Stick a needle in my eye," he added.