A Houston man who fatally shot his mother and then dismembered her body in an effort to escape detection in 2021 was sent to prison for 40 years after family members gave victim impact statements Monday, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.
“Domestic violence takes many forms, and it is an absolute tragedy that an argument led to the fatal shooting of the beloved member of a large extended family,” Ogg said. “We were able to get justice for this woman and her family.”
Robert A. Barnes, 37, pleaded guilty to murder earlier this month in exchange for 40 years in prison. He must serve at least half of the sentence before he is eligible for parole, and he cannot appeal the conviction or the sentence. After the plea, victim impact statements were scheduled and took place on June 20.
At the time of the murder, Barnes was living with his mother, Lucila Rosita Barnes, in the Cypress area when they got into an argument on Oct. 20, 2021. Barnes pulled a 9mm handgun and shot her in the head, torso and legs, killing her.
Later that day, family members began to worry when they could not reach the 72-year-old woman who had been busy planning a trip out of state for later that week. Two came by the house and found Barnes acting suspiciously. He did not answer the door when they knocked repeatedly, and when they began walking around the house to see inside, he came out with an assault rifle.
Barnes lied and told them that his mother had left on her trip a day early. They did not believe him and instead called law enforcement to conduct a welfare check.
Harris County sheriff’s deputies arrived to check on the septuagenarian and got a warrant to go inside the home, where they found a bloody murder scene and the victim’s remains in a wooden box. Barnes had severed his mother’s legs to get her entire body in the box.
Assistant District Attorney Shanice Newton, in the DA’s Major Offenders Division, prosecuted the case.
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