Terrace Douglass found innocent in Jamel Barnes' murder

Defendant guilty of robbery, confinement of neighborhood drug dealer

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA - Terrace Douglass insisted all long he was innocent of murder in the killing of Jamel Barnes and a jury proved him right on Friday.

 Barnes's brother, Hosea, just looked down when a Delaware Circuit Court 3 jury found Douglass not guilty of murdering Barnes, but they did find him guilty of robbing and confining Ivin Coleman. Douglass also was convicted of unlawful possession of a handgun.

 Douglass was charged with two crimes on that night in October 2012 but the verdicts made apparent that the state overcharged the defendant while not having a gun, DNA or even identification of Douglass as the shooter.

Robert Beymer, chief public defender of Jay County, even offered evidence that another man, Alonzo Williams, was the real shooter and that police ignored evidence of his involvement while making a case against Douglass.

The trial was marked by inconsistent statements by the state's witnesses and one who was held in contempt for not answering defense questions, and thrown in jail by Judge Linda Ralu Wolf.

Beymer even was able to prove that one of the state's witnesses, Wallace Byrd, could not have been at the scene the night of the murder, while other witnesses pointed to Williams.

Zachary Craig, deputy prosecutor, repeated Bryd's name so many times in closing arguments that some jurors seemed upset by their facial expressions with his conduct. 

The state also put on a state forensic specialist that analysized blood found on Douglass's shoe, but the blood was from the defendant and not the victim.

The only real evidence was from Douglass's friend Freddie Perry, who helped rob Colemen of marijuana, a gun, money and tennis shoes the night of the murder. Perry got a deal to testify but never really identified Douglass as shooting Barnes.

Beymer told the jury they could not convict based on speculation or suspicion and that was all the state's case without physical or forensic evidence besides no mention of what happened to the gun.

Members of Barnes' family, including his mother and father and brothers attended the weeklong trial. and were saddened by the state failing to hold someone responsible for Jamel's killing.

More than 400 people attended Barnes' funeral and a community outcry called for a stop to neighborhood violence.


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