John Gilbert Barnes, II, aged 39, pled guilty to Second Degree Assault upon his girlfriend and was sentenced to serve 5 years in prison for events which occurred back on March 31, 2018. Mr. Barnes pled guilty and was sentenced before the Honorable Thomas G. Ross, Judge of and for the Circuit Court for Queen Anne’s County. The case was prosecuted by Lance G. Richardson, State’s Attorney for Queen Anne’s County. Mr. Barnes was represented by defense counsel Matthew Connell of the Office of the Public Defender.
The details of the incident involved Mr. Barnes and his then girlfriend riding together in his girlfriend’s vehicle. An argument ensued and Mr. Barnes in a fit of anger threw his girlfriend’s six pack of beer out the vehicle window. This angered the girlfriend and she in turn threw Mr. Barnes’ unconsumed beer out of the vehicle window. This enraged Barnes and he began striking his girlfriend with a closed fist while driving on the highway. The girlfriend in turn grabbed a metal spike which was in her passenger door handle and began stabbing Barnes in his arm to ward off the assault. Barnes then abruptly stopped the vehicle and exited in an attempt to remove the victim from the vehicle. The victim then locked the vehicle doors and moved into the driver’s seat and attempted to run Barnes over with her vehicle. She was unsuccessful in striking Barnes with the vehicle but she was able to flee from the scene. She later sought medical attention for severe swelling to her face from the blows delivered by Barnes during the assault. Barnes offered his version of the events as mitigation at his sentencing. Barnes claimed he was the actual victim and that he suffered regular beatings from his former girlfriend who he claimed used a broom and other household items as weapons against him. Barnes claimed he had nowhere else to reside so that’s why he supposedly tolerated the alleged regular abuse at the hands of his former girlfriend. Barnes claimed she was Bi-Polar and violent. Neither Richardson nor the Judge found Barnes’s version of the events credible. His claimed self-defense was not supported by the facts and evidence of the case.
Barnes had a major prior criminal record and the Maryland sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence to serve ranging from 18 months to five years. Judge Ross imposed the high end of the sentencing guidelines citing Barnes’ failures at probation in the past as his reason for imposing a straight prison sentence with no probation.
State’s Attorney Lance Richardson thanked the victim for her candor and cooperation with the State about the truth and facts of the incident and he was pleased with the sentence for Barnes. Deputy First Class Chris Ahearn of the Office of the Sheriff was also credited for a thorough investigation of the matter.