A Florida man who not too long ago dropped all authorized appeals was executed Thursday for the 1988 homicide of a lady who was sexually assaulted, killed with a hammer, after which set on fireplace in her personal mattress.
James Phillip Barnes, 61, was pronounced useless at 6.13pm following a deadly injection at Florida State Prison in Starke.
Lying on a gurney, Barnes appeared to have already got his eyes shut when the curtain was opened for witnesses. He did not reply when jail officers requested if he had a last assertion, and he remained immobile aside from respiratory for about 10 minutes till that stopped. A physician then pronounced him useless.
The 61-year-old inmate was sentenced to dying for the homicide of nurse Patricia “Patsy” Miller. It was the fifth execution in Florida this yr.
One of the sufferer’s siblings, Andrew Miller, witnessed the execution and mentioned he got here to recollect his sister.
“I did not come here to watch someone die. I came here to honor our sister, Patricia Miller,” he advised reporters afterward. “No one should live in fear within the safety of their own home. No woman, no child, no animal should have that fear. We did.”
Barnes was serving a life sentence for the 1997 strangulation of his spouse, 44-year-old Linda Barnes, when he wrote letters in 2005 to a state prosecutor claiming accountability for killing Miller years earlier at her condominium in Melbourne on Florida’s east coast.
Barnes represented himself in court docket hearings the place he supplied no protection, pleaded responsible to killing Miller and didn’t try to hunt a life sentence relatively than the dying penalty.
Miller, who was 41 when Barnes killed her on April 20, 1988, had some earlier unspecified detrimental interactions with him, in response to a jailhouse interview he gave German movie director Werner Herzog.
“There were several events that happened (with Miller). I felt terribly humiliated, that’s all I can say,” Barnes mentioned within the interview.
When he pleaded responsible, Barnes advised the choose that after breaking into Miller’s unit, “I raped her twice. I tried to strangle her to death. I hit her head with a hammer and killed her and I set her bed on fire,” in response to court docket data.
There was additionally DNA proof linking Barnes to Miller’s killing. After pleading responsible, Barnes was sentenced to dying on 13 December 2007. He additionally pleaded responsible to sexual battery, arson, and housebreaking with an assault and battery.
Barnes killed his spouse in 1997 after she found that he was dealing medicine. Her physique was discovered stuffed in a closet after she was strangled, court docket data present. Barnes has claimed to have killed at the least two different individuals however has by no means been charged in these instances.
Barnes had been out and in of jail since his teenage years, together with time served for convictions for grand theft, forgery, housebreaking and trafficking in stolen property.
In the Miller case, state attorneys appointed to characterize Barnes filed preliminary appeals, together with one which led to psychological competency evaluations. Two docs discovered that Barnes had signs of persona dysfunction with “borderline antisocial and sociopathic features.” However, they pronounced him competent to grasp his authorized scenario and plead responsible, and his convictions and dying sentence have been upheld.
After DeSantis signed the inmate’s dying warrant in June, a Brevard County choose granted Barnes’ movement to drop all appeals involving mitigating proof similar to his psychological situation and mentioned “that he wanted to accept responsibility for his actions and to proceed to execution (his death) without any delay,” court docket data present.
Though uncommon, condemned inmates generally don’t pursue each authorized avenue to keep away from execution. The Death Penalty Information Center studies that about 150 such inmates have been put to dying for the reason that US Supreme Court reaffirmed the dying penalty as constitutional in 1976.
The Florida Supreme Court accepted the Brevard County ruling, noting that no different movement in search of a keep of execution for Barnes had been filed in state or federal court docket.
In the Herzog interview, Barnes mentioned he had transformed to Islam in jail and needed to clear his conscience concerning the Miller case throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
“They say I’m remorseless. I’m not. There are no more questions on this case. And I’m going to be executed,” Barnes mentioned.