Accomack Circuit Court

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By Nancy Drury-Duncan

Frederick Marvin “Ricky” Barnes Jr., 35, of Exmore, pleaded guilty last week to the murders of his mother, 75-year-old Brenda Barnes, and of Dean Reid, 53, and the attempted murder of Barnes’ sister, Christina Green.

On July 3, 2021, Green was hosting a birthday cookout for a nephew. The party started in the late afternoon. “Everyone was feeling great,” testified Green at Barnes’ preliminary hearing. She said she set out nine bottles of liquor, including Fireball and 100-proof vodka along with beer for the guests. As the afternoon wore on, some began to show signs of having drunk too much, she said. “Frederick was getting louder, cursing, and acting stupid. He was drunk.” Green testified she went to Barnes’ mother and told her Barnes needed to be taken home. “My brother told him he would drive them home.”

Green said Brenda Barnes had trouble getting around and brought both a cane and a walker to the party. She told Green her son would be angry if she told him she wanted to leave. She was correct. Testimony was that Barnes did not want to leave and became very angry. Parksley resident Reid was nearby helping load plates of food in the car that was to take Barnes and Barnes’ mother back to their Exmore home when Barnes got into an argument with Green’s nephew, C.J. Byrd. He hit Byrd and threw him to the ground. Reid got between them, trying to stop the fight. Green said she got her phone to call 911 when “Ricky turned around, pulled out a gun, and shot Dean in the chest. He fell to the ground and Ricky shot him two more times in the back.”

Green said Barnes then turned to his mom and said, “I am tired of taking care of your ass,” and shot her twice in the head. She said the woman was on her back with her eyes closed, gasping for air. Green said she began running away. “I looked back and saw him reloading. She said he began firing at her. “The bullets were whizzing by me.” Green wept as she told her story at the preliminary hearing. “He is my brother,” she said. “You don’t expect your brother to do that.”

While running away, she told the 911 operator that Barnes had more guns at home. “He is going to come back and kill us all,” she said. An EMT testifying at the preliminary hearing said he arrived at 8:30 p.m. and found two patients dead of apparent gunshot wounds. A deputy testified he stopped Barnes’ car on Merry Branch Road at 9:45 p.m. He noticed Barnes’ leg was bloody and called an ambulance. Barnes told him it was a gunshot wound. It was surmised Barnes may have accidentally shot himself in the leg while taking his gun out of its holster or putting it back in.

According to the terms of the agreement, Barnes pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder and three firearm charges. Other charges not prosecuted according to the terms of the agreement include brandishing, recklessly handling a firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of alcohol. “What this case lacks in premeditation, more than makes up in malice,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan.

Barnes’ sentencing is set for Nov. 10.

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