Accused killer of Jamel Barnes on trial in Muncie IN
Terrace Douglass says he was not near the shooting scene
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - The confusing case of Terrace Douglass accused of murder and robbery played out in a Delaware County courtroom Tuesday nearly two years after he was charged.
Douglass was arrested for the murder of Jamel Barnes who was shot in the streets of Industry neighborhood in October 2012.
It took Muncie police only a few days to accuse Douglass, who also is accused of robbing someone else and taking a gun that reportedly was used to kill Douglass,
But it took longer to bring in witnesses and attempt to gather other evidence to link Douglass to the murder.
Public defender Joelle Freiburger of Jay County, was quick to point out that the state had no gun, no DNA and not even a positive identification of the shooter to the jury in opening statements.
She used the words of police detective Robert Scaife saying, "If we can put (Douglass) at the scene, we can charge him."
Deputy prosecutor Zachary Craig did say the state had witnesses that proved Douglass helped rob another man, and stole a gun that was used in the shooting.
But Craig never mentioned a gun or DNA in his summary of evidence to be presented in the trial.
The state's main witness, Tenina Casey, was the one who called the police after seeing Barnes collapse in the street after hearing a shot. And she saw two men running through the neighborhood
Jackie Seals also is expected to testify that she chased two men running in the neighborhood and believed one of them was Douglass.
Freiburger described the crime scene the night of shooting as chaos with dozens of people out and a threatening rainstorm that later wasted away some physical evidence.
The murder trial also has two high profile attorneys, Delaware County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold and Robert Beymer, chief public defender of Jay County, in the courtroom. Both will be questioning questioning witnesses as Craig and Freiburger argue the case.
What the jury won't hear is that the case ended in mistrial earlier this year when an attorney claimed a conflict of interest just as a jury was seated.
And Delaware Circuit Court 3 Judge Linda Ralu Wolf has denied some key evidence of the defense that another man confessed to shooting Barnes.
Members of the Barnes family were in the courtroom on Tuesday and are still trying to figure out what happened that night. More than 400 people attended Barnes' funeral including his six children.
Outcry from the black community came after the shooting with a march for Barnes and a stop to the street violence that has plagued Muncie like other communities.