Hearing delayed for teen held in slaying of pastor

Hearing delayed for teen held in slaying of pastor

February 22nd, 2011 by Chris Carroll in News

Staff Photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press Brendan Barnes, right, a 16-year old charged with killing the Rev. David Strong, exits Judge Rebecca Stern's courtroom Monday.

The teenager charged in the October slaying of a Chattanooga pastor will not face a judge for another month.

On Monday, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern moved Brendan Barnes' bond hearing to March 21, granting defense attorney Jonathan Turner's request "to look at a few more issues in the case."

Just like that, Barnes' minute-long court appearance ended and Hamilton County deputies walked him back to his jail cell.

Turner is new to the case, appointed as Barnes' counsel days after Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Suzanne Bailey ruled on Feb. 3 that the 16-year-old was "competent to stand trial" as an adult.

Barnes and his 26-year-old cousin, Antonio Henry, are charged with first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery in the killing of the Rev. David Strong, who was pastor of St. Paul AME Church.

According to Chattanooga police Detective Michael Wenger's court testimony, Barnes has a different story than Henry on what happened the night Strong was killed.

Henry told the Times Free Press in jailhouse interviews that he beat Strong with a stick and Barnes stabbed Strong after the pastor made unwanted sexual advances to Henry.

Henry's charges still are pending with the Hamilton County grand jury.

During Barnes' Feb. 3 transfer hearing, Wenger said Barnes told him the pair went to "rob and possibly kill" the pastor. There was no mention of sexuality or unwanted advances during the hearing.

Strong's killers beat him in the face and stabbed him 29 times, his autopsy report states. Alcohol and THC-marijuana's key ingredient-were found in his system.

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