Decarlos Barnes was sentenced to at least 13 years in prison Thursday, May 9.
A jury found Barnes, 25, guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday, May 8, after five hours of deliberation. Defense attorney Todd Smith and District Attorney Sean Boone disagreed on what class felony Barnes fits.
Barnes was convicted of shooting Willie Thompson about 3:30 a.m. May 20, 2015, outside the CV Mart, 1846 N. Church St., which was a popular gathering spot in East Burlington after local nightclubs closed. Thompson died later that morning from a chest wound.
Boone asked Superior Court Judge Tom Lambeth for 20 to 25 years for sentencing Wednesday afternoon before he and Smith disagreed on whether Barnes is a class B1 or class B2 felon.
On Thursday morning, Lambeth ruled Barnes a class B2 felon, which Boone said he would appeal. Smith then asked for a 94-month sentence — almost eight years. Smith handed two letters to Lambeth: one from Barnes' daughter, and the other from a cousin. Lambeth had read a letter from the mother of Thompson's child Wednesday.
Barnes addressed the court and apologized to his family, friends and loved ones before apologizing to Thompson's family, friends and loved ones for the incident.
"He didn't deserve to die that night," Barnes said.
Smith also asked Lambeth to think about Barnes' 9-year-old daughter, and everyday he was in jail he wasn't with her.
Several women began crying after Barnes finished talking.
Lambeth said he was saddened that no other witnesses came forward to help understand what happened the night of the shooting.
"This is a great example of the nuisance of firearms in the wrong hands," Lambeth said.
He told Barnes he hoped he would be sincere with his life after he got out of prison.
"You got a lot of good in you. I want to see you develop that," Lambeth said.
Lambeth sentenced Barnes to 157–201 months, close to 17 years.
Barnes waved goodbye to family and friends as he left the court. Someone yelled out to him, "I love you."
©2019 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.