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Prison term given
Barnes to serve 16 years in Bassett shooting
Thursday, December 5, 2013
By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer
Marcus Barnes of Fieldale was sentenced Wednesday to serve 16 years in prison in connection with the March 29 shooting death of William Bradley “Brad” Doss of Bassett.
Henry County Circuit Court Judge David V. Williams sentenced Barnes to 30 years in prison on a charge of second-degree murder, with 13 years active and the balance suspended with indefinite probation.
Williams also sentenced Barnes to three years in prison, the mandatory minimum sentence, on a charge of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The sentences will run consecutively.
Barnes, 35, of Mitchell Farm Road, pleaded no contest Sept. 25 to the amended charge of second-degree murder. Barnes, who initially was charged with first-degree murder, also pleaded no contest to use of a firearm in commission of a felony in connection with the death of Doss, 28, of 2560 Blackberry Road.
The shooting occurred across from B&B Trucking, which is at 2517 Blackberry Road. Doss suffered a single gunshot wound to his upper left chest.
Barnes’ attorney, Roscoe Reynolds, asked Williams on Wednesday to significantly deviate from the standard sentencing
guidelines for second-degree murder because of circumstances in the case. Reynolds said, to his recollection, the guidelines call for a sentence of 13 years to 24 years for second-degree murder.
Reynolds said or said previously that Doss had cocaine in his body at the time of autopsy. Reynolds said Doss invited Barnes to Doss’ home, Doss provoked the violence and that Doss was armed with brass knuckles and a knife, which were found near his body.
“It was not the defendant going there looking for trouble. ... Mr. Doss initiated the violence,” Reynolds said.
Dawn Futrell, assistant commonwealth attorney, argued that Barnes’ court record goes back to 1994, for years involved mostly involved “small acts” that were nonviolent, and that he has exhibited lack of respect for the law.
Futrell said in court Sept. 25 that Barnes was at the Econo Lodge in Henry County on March 28, the day before the fatal shooting. While Barnes was there, Doss came to the hotel, there was an altercation, and Barnes “was seriously injured,” she said. She added he was treated at the local hospital and air-lifted to Roanoke.
She said Barnes also told a Martinsville police officer at that time that Doss attacked him, but that Barnes would “handle it himself.”
In court Wednesday, Futrell said that Barnes’ “taking care of matters” led to his going to Blackberry Road on March 29. According to a transcript of a video statement March 29, Barnes said of Doss, “He called me up and he said that he had my money and he said he apologized and I apologized. We pulled over on the side of the road where he said he was staying ... .”
Futrell said in court Sept. 25 that Barnes’ girlfriend drove down Blackberry Road on March 29, parked at the trucking company and let Barnes out. Doss and some other Doss family members faced each other across what Futrell described as a cattle gate, and an argument ensued, she said.
Reynolds said Wednesday that Brad Doss acted as if he was going to shake Barnes’ hand but swung at him.
Futrell said in court Sept. 25 that witnesses testified in lower court that after Brad Doss allegedly tried to hit Barnes, Barnes took out a small-caliber handgun and pulled the trigger. The firearm did not discharge and eventually, Barnes retreated to the vehicle driven by his girlfriend.
Brad Doss and his brother, Brent Doss, threw rocks and pieces of tar that pulled loose from the road in the direction of Barnes and the car, and then jumped the gate and gave chase, according to Futrell on Sept. 25 and testimony in lower court.
Reynolds said Wednesday some of the chunks thrown were the size of bricks.
Reynolds said in court Sept. 25 that when Barnes retreated to the car and “was pursued by the Doss” brothers, one of the brothers went to the front end and one went to the rear of the vehicle.
Futrell said Sept. 25 that Barnes leaned over the top of the car and fired one shot, which struck Brad Doss. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The one gunshot to Doss’ chest hit his heart and aorta, and “when he hit the ground, he was probably gone,” Futrell said Wednesday. “He (Barnes) decided to take matters in his own hands.”
She asked that Barnes be sentenced to “a very long time” on the murder charge and also to time on the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony charge.
Barnes, wearing an orange inmate jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles around his waist and ankles, appeared to be crying at times as he read a prepared statement.
He apologized to the Doss family, members of which could be heard or seen crying at times. “I’m so sorry for your loss. It truly breaks my heart someone lost their life. It’s something I have to live with every day,” Barnes stated.
He said that after retreating to the car after being threatened and trying to get away, he fired a weapon trying to protect himself and his girlfriend. He said Brad Doss had a knife. “I fired a weapon not out of anger or malice, but out of fear,” he said.
“I’m so sorry. It tears me up inside,” he added.
Brad Doss’ father, William Doss, alleged in court Wednesday that Barnes acted deliberately. “Mr. Barnes had time to change his mind. ... I think he should have to pay for what he has done. ... He shouldn’t be given a chance to do probation or anything else. My son paid with his life,” he said.
William Doss described Brad Doss as “as always there to help” and willing to take up for people.
Deborah Compton, Barnes’ mother, testified that he previously had suffered brain injury as a result of two serious automobile accidents.