By Jessica Clark
First Coast News
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FL -- Justin Barber now waits for a judge’s decision: either life in prison or the death penalty.
In June, the nation watched his trial.
The state said he killed his wife April in Guana River State Park in 2002; Barber says a stranger attacked him and April.
Her family and his, both from out of state, spent weeks in that St. Johns County Courtroom.
Patti Parrish is April’s aunt. She said, “I couldn’t even believe that we were really sitting there. And that April was gone. And that Justin was sitting there across the room from us.”
April had served as a mother figure to her younger siblings after their mother died.
“My sister was my best friend,” Julie Lott said. “Anything I ever needed, she would do.”
It’s that sense of family Justin’s mother says he admired. “How she felt about family, that meant a lot to him because his family means a lot to him,” Linda Barber said.
The jurors were hard to read during the trial, according to April’s sister. The jury eventually deliberated for 32 hours over four days.
Juror Glenn Dean said it was an emotional time. “We had put up all of the evidence-- of the crime scene photos. You know, the beach photos. Everything. And we had taken a picture of April when she was alive and set it up. That’s what we wanted to remember... that picture of her and her face like that. You know? Not, not the stuff we had seen.”
“And we all just took a moment to reflect on that,” Dean adds.
The jury returned a guilty verdict and a recommendation of death. The judge must still determine what Justin’s sentence will be. That announcement is planned for September 15th.
First Coast News