03/13/13 — Man enters plea in his brother's murder

View Archive

Man enters plea in his brother's murder

By John Joyce
Published in News on March 13, 2013 1:46 PM

The trial of a man accused of shooting his brother ended abruptly this week when the defendant decided to take a plea deal instead.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Delbridge said Alonza Barnes "reconsidered his position."

Barnes, charged with the 2012 murder of his brother, Charles Ervin Barnes, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, waiving his right to trial by jury and accepting a sentence of up to nearly 12 years in prison. He will serve a minimum of nine years.

A summary of the case was presented by Delbridge, and the defense offered its interpretation of the facts for the bench to consider.

The outcome of the case would have been the same, with Barnes going to jail, Delbridge said. The trial was simply to determine the degree of culpability based on intoxication and other factors.

In the end, Judge John E. Nobles heard enough and was persuaded to accept the plea agreement and to sentence Barnes according to its conditions.

Barnes, visibly remorseful, was granted a brief moment with his mother before going back to jail.

His family declined to comment, but were also visibly, and sometimes throughout the proceedings were audibly, upset.

Barnes' defense attorney, Mary Jude Darrow, told the court that her client had been suffering with grief and asked that he be provided a mental health evaluation and support.

Nobles granted that request as part of the sentencing and ordered alcohol treatment for Barnes as well, due to earlier testimony about his drinking and the culture of drinking that surrounded the crime.