Florida is preparing to execute a man who confessed to killing his wife and a nurse and declined to fight his death sentence.
James Phillip Barnes, 61, is scheduled to be executed at 6.00pm on Thursday evening for two murders committed almost 10 years apart.
Barnes was first convicted of murdering his wife Linda Barnes in 1997. According to prosecutors, Barnes broke her neck after the two got in a violent argument over his use of crack cocaine.
Barnes was convicted and sentenced to life in prison a year later.
In 2005, Barnes sent a letter to Florida state prosecutors, confessing to the murder of Patricia ‘Patsy’ Miller in 1988.
Miller was a 41-year-old nurse from Melbourne, Florida. Barnes told investigators that he had a ‘previous encounter’ with Miller, which involved being ‘humiliated’ at a pool.
Barnes confessed to attacking Miller with a knife as she got out of the shower. He tied her up with shoelaces, before raping her twice.
Barnes told investigators he then tried to strangle Miller, but was unsuccessful. Instead, he beat her to death with a hammer.
He then said he gathered up all of Miller’s belongings he thought he touched. He then set Miller’s bed on fire with a cigarette lighter.
Barnes provided investigators with a DNA sample, which they matched to samples collected on Miller’s body.
Barnes was charged with murder, sexual battery, arson, and burglary. He pleaded guilty and represented himself at trial, offering no defense. He was sentenced to death in December 2007.
Forensic psychologists working for the state said that Barnes showed symptoms of anti-social personality disorder, including ‘borderline narcissistic characteristics.’
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Barnes’s death warrant in June. Barnes quickly filed a court motion to drop all further appeals based on mitigating evidence, including his mental health diagnoses.
After Barnes was convicted of his second murder in 2007, he was interviewed by legendary documentarian Werner Herzog for a Channel 4 miniseries called On Death Row.
‘They say I’m remorseless,’ Barnes told Herzog. ‘I’m not. There are no more questions on this case. And I’m going to be executed.’
After the interview, Barnes confessed to two more murders. He was never charged for either.
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