published Thursday, March 10th, 2011

2 indicted in pastor slaying

A Hamilton County grand jury has indicted an adult and a teenager accused in the grisly killing of a Chattanooga pastor.

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    Sixteen-year-old Brendan Barnes, left, and his cousin Antonio Henry, 25, are charged in the death of Rev. David Strong.

Antonio Henry, 26, and Brendan Barnes, 16, were indicted Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery in the Oct. 10 slaying of the Rev. David Strong, according to court records.

The 55-year-old pastor of St. Paul AME Church was beaten in the face and stabbed 29 times, according to autopsy reports.

Henry and Barnes are both slated for arraignment on March 25 before Criminal Court Judge Don Poole.

Barnes will be tried as an adult. His attorney, Jonathan Turner, could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Henry’s attorney, Daniel Ripper, said his client will plead not guilty.

“We’re still in the earliest stages of gathering information, figuring out what we can do and what we can present,” Ripper said.

Because Barnes and Henry have given conflicting reports of who was responsible for Strong’s death, Ripper said he and Turner will most likely seek to have the two tried separately.

“There’s no good reason for the two of them to be tried together when their accounts are antagonistic,” Ripper said.

Barnes and Henry were arrested days after Strong’s death when they were stopped while riding in Strong’s car. In court testimony, Chattanooga police Detective Michael Wenger has said Barnes told him the pair went to Strong’s home to “rob and possibly kill” the pastor.

In a jailhouse interview with the Times Free Press, Henry said he beat Strong with a stick and Barnes stabbed Strong after the pastor made unwanted sexual advances to Henry.

Alcohol and THC — marijuana’s key ingredient — were found in Strong’s system, the autopsy detailed.

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mswafford said...

I think this is a very sad situation. I hate that a 16 year old boy was coerced by an older cousin to commit murder.I also believe there is hope for him as a child can be rehabilitated, there is NO WAY I think a 16 year old child deserves the death penalty. He needs help. The boy looks scared out of his mind and the young man just has that hardened criminal look. My own son is 16 and I cant imagine what his mother is going through.The Barnes family will be in my prayers. I also feel for Pastor Strongs family but they did find marijuana and alcohol in the pastors system...explain that one....a drunk stoned who knows what he was doing.

March 11, 2011 at 9:22 a.m.
YR said...

Personaly only God and decides if someone should die and personaly you can take it how you wsnt you never know the real story behind a murder its always he say she say and I think that the jury should look at the backgrounds of these two people and see what type of people they are. I Dont think that the young man Brendan Barnes should be put to death and I Dont think that you should judge someone because of the media it's no actual fact and i think that and That other man now he should be tried hard and they should really take a look at him Barnes was forced and pushed to do what every they say he did but he did not stab that man and kill him but God knows and Indian you were not there so you can't really point fingers and say the young 16 year old should die! thats wrong

March 19, 2011 at 8:19 p.m.
c4UtTOJ5 said...

mswafford, I was in agreement with you all the way until you got "drunk stoned pastor" out of "Alcohol and THC — marijuana’s key ingredient — were found in Strong’s system". I think we do ourselves a large disservice when we add to the report our assumptions and not sticking to the facts as presented. Without amounts we don't know that he was "drunk" or "stoned", and in any case those factors are not an acceptable "excuse" for his murder.

March 25, 2011 at 9:16 p.m.
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