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‘I am prepared for execution’ James Barnes faces lethal injection for murdering wife and another woman

‘I am prepared for execution’ James Barnes: A death row inmate in Florida is set to face lethal injection on Thursday, August 3, after being convicted of murdering two Space Coast women, including his wife. James Barnes’ scheduled death will mark Florida’s fifth execution in the past six months.

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Who is James Barnes?

The horrifying story of James Barnes’, 61, criminal background began in 1997 when Brevard County Sheriff’s Office investigators found Linda Barnes’ body at the couple’s home in the Woodland Oaks community off Eber Boulevard in unincorporated West Melbourne. Linda was a 44-year-old medical assistant. After being detained and facing a first-degree murder accusation, Barnes was sentenced to life in prison in 1998.

However, the case took a chilling turn in 2005 when Barnes, still incarcerated, requested an interview with Assistant State Attorney Michael Hunt. In the prison interview, videotaped by a Melbourne detective, Barnes confessed to the 1988 murder of Patricia “Patsy” Miller, a 41-year-old Melbourne nurse. His account described a horrifying sequence of events, including rape, strangulation, a fatal blow to the head with a hammer, and setting her bed on fire to eliminate evidence. When asked if he knew Miller, Barnes replied, “No, I didn’t.” In 2006, Barnes pleaded guilty to first-degree premeditated murder in Miller’s death, along with two counts of sexual battery, armed burglary, and arson. He was sentenced to death for the “senseless, brutal, and tortuous killing of Patricia Miller in her home” in 2007.

I am prepared for execution

On June 22, Governor Ron DeSantis authorized the execution of Barnes. The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops responded by writing to DeSantis last week, asking for a reprieve and a change of Barnes’ death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. “The state is nonetheless responsible for bringing about Mr. Barnes’ ready acceptance of the death penalty, which was the punishment imposed by the legal system.
Simply put, no one should be executed in our modern penal system, even if they willingly accept it,” the letter stated. “The alternative punishment of life in prison without parole is a severe penalty that still provides closure to victims and protects society. It is more humane and ceases to perpetuate the cycle of violence that began by the sufferings inflicted on him in his youth, which included physical and sexual abuse,” it added. However, despite the plea from the Catholic Bishops, Barnes expressed his desire to proceed with his execution without further delays. He fired his attorneys and dismissed all legal proceedings, stating, “I am prepared for execution. Don’t drag this out,” during a June 27 case-management conference.

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Mental health and criminal history of James Barnes

An expert in forensic psychology previously testified that Barnes was a psychopath with “an extreme mental disorder,” attributed to a violent upbringing without familial support, cocaine dependency, and antisocial personality disorder. However, Assistant Attorney General Patrick Bobek argued that Barnes has been found competent in past evaluations and that he does not have a mental illness. Bobek emphasized that Barnes has a comprehensive understanding of the legal process he faces. Moreover, Barnes’ criminal history dates back to the 1970s, and prior to his arrest for his wife’s murder, he amassed convictions for burglary, grand theft, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, violation of state probation, resisting arrest, battery domestic violence, and trafficking in stolen property.

As the convict’s execution draws near, emotions are running high. Barnes’ older sister, Beth Catron of Grant-Valkaria, expressed her family’s relief. “Our family is glad the nightmare will soon be over, and maybe we’ll be able to sleep in peace,” she told Florida Today. Barnes’ execution will take place at the Florida State Prison in Raiford, marking a somber chapter in the state’s legal history.

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