Murder suspect pleads for forgiveness

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Joshua Barnes, 22, stabbed a man at the home of an off-duty sheriff's deputy.

In a Smith County court Wednesday, Barnes pleaded guilty to first degree murder for stabbing and killing Brandon Lee last December. Barnes was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Barnes made his pleas first to the court, then to the victim's family.

"I wish I hadn't gone that night," said Barnes in court. "I wish none of that would have happened and I do apologize."

But, before Joshua Barnes stood and faced his accusers, he first had to sit and listen.

"Your family will go through the Hell that I'm going through when you're in prison," said the victim's mom, Cynthia Beam." But I will always know where my son is at."

"I hate what you done," said the victim's dad, Gene Beam. "I don't hate you. I hate what you done...and I'm supposed to forgive you, too, but that's the hardest thing I'll have to do in my life."

"I do believe that Joshua regrets what he did," said Thad Davidson, Barnes' attorney. "I believe he has remorse."

Just this past June, Barnes owned up to his role in the stabbing, claiming he did it in self-defense. But, earlier this week, the judge ruled a taped, voluntary confession would be allowed as evidence in the trial.

It was recorded during an interview just hours after the stabbing.

"'He's like, dude, come on. You told me whenever I'm ready. I'm ready,'" said Barns in his recorded interview. "So I took my jacket off. I handed my beer out. I pulled my knife out of my sheath.  I kicked - kicked him in the groin so that he would be and I stabbed him."

"We would have fought as hard as we could have," said Davidson. "The state would have fought as hard as it could have...In the end, however, I believe Joshua Barnes would have been convicted."

Smith County D.A. Matt Bingham says Barnes' own words made the case cut and dry.

"[He said,] 'Since I was young, I've had the feeling to hurt people...and I've talked to many, many therapists about it,'" Bingham quoted Barnes. "This is not a case of self-defense. This is a guy who's said, 'I wanted to kill people since I was young.'"

Joshua Barnes is a young man now paying for those words with his freedom. He will be eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence. The victim's family vowed to be at every one of his parole hearings to make sure Barnes serves the full term of his sentence.

September 28th, 2010 (KLTV) - An East Texas trial court has ruled that Joshua Barnes' recorded confession can be used as evidence in his murder trial.

On December 27th, 2009, an argument ended in a deadly stabbing at a holiday party. Investigators say two young men got into a heated argument and began fighting. According to witnesses of the fight, Joshua Barnes stabbed James Brandon Lee at least twice.

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