Last October police in Chattanooga, Tennessee arrested 26-year-old Antonio Henry and his 16-year-old cousin Brendan Barnes for the brutal murder of 55-year-old pastor David Strong. They’ve pretty much confessed to the crime, but now their attorneys want both men tried separately. Hmmm… why is that exactly?
According to the suspects, Henry and Barnes allegedly tied up, beat and strangled Strong before stabbing him 29 times, driving off in his car and withdrawing $600 from his bank account. The reason? Strong supposedly locked the men inside his home and refused to let them out until Henry accepted $100 for a blowjob. Sure. That makes sense.
But the latest twist is that the two suspects have begun accusing each other of the actual murder and as a result, their lawyers want them to have separate trials:
[attorney Dan] Ripper told Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole that Henry and Barnes implicate each other as the killer of Strong in statements to police and the Times Free Press.
After the hearing, Ripper said that could set up “mutually antagonistic defenses,” pitting separate constitutional rights—the right against self-incrimination and the ability to confront your accuser—at odds.
But District Attorney Bill Cox argued during the hearing that the “mere passing blame from one defendant to another is not enough to establish antagonistic defenses.”
First off, Ripper has got to be the worst name ever for a lawyer defending an accused stabber. Second, the judge will rule soon on whether to try the accused separately or together and has set the prospective trial date for sometime in February or March, so we’ll see this play out soon enough.
Strong’s relatives have denied that the unmarried and childless pastor was gay. And while the police did find alcohol and marijuana in Strong’s system during an autopsy—substances that he allegedly offered them young men before his murder—thus far police have reported nothing to substantiate the suspects’ “gay panic” defense.
Via Rod 2.0