Sunday, December 7, 2008

Santa Cruz rapist who tried to get out of plea sentenced to life with parole eligibility

Michael Barnes, 41, was found guilty of raping a woman earlier this year, and after the 1st guilty verdict, Barnes pled guilty to raping the other two women he was charged with attacking. The District Attorney's Office let Barnes plead to a 24 year sentence versus the life sentence he would have faced if he had went to trail on the other cases. Judge Samuel Stevens sentenced him Friday morning in a Santa Cruz, CA, courtroom. The sentencing was scheduled for July, but Barnes filed a motion to withdraw previous guilty pleas, which was denied.

Nevertheless, according to Anthony Robinson, Barnes’ attorney, Barnes refused to admit guilt to some of the charges, but admitted to other things he pled guilty to.
"He said it's a sad situation and he feels really bad for everyone involved,” according to Robinson.

Prosecutor Andrew Isaac described the sentencing hearing as "dignified" and said there were no displays of vindictiveness or anger on the part of Barnes or the single victim who chose to attend.

The two other victims submitted "very moving statements about how they felt about the process," Isaac said, adding that they praised the support Santa Cruz police's victim/witness advocate, Julie Schneider provided to the three women.

"All three victims indicated how important the process and this resolution had been to their piece of mind," Isaac said.

In June, Barnes and convicted child molester Seth O'Connell allegedly were caught plotting to break out of County Jail. The pair apparently shredded jail-issue blankets and braided the strips into a rope. They had amassed about 40 feet of rope before correctional officers unraveled their plan. However, no charges were ever filed in connection with the alleged plot. Had they been convicted, the crime could have added four years to their prison sentence.

Barnes will be eligible for parole in 2029.

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