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Judge sentences city man in Jonathan Street shooting

January 17, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man charged with wounding another man last July was sentenced Thursday morning to five years in prison in Washington County Circuit Court.

Sean Reuben Barnes, 26, of 109 W. Church St., entered an Alford plea to a charge of reckless endangerment in the shooting of Vaughn Walker, who lived in Hagerstown at the time.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees the state has enough evidence to gain a conviction.

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In exchange for the plea, the Washington County State's Attorney's Office dropped seven other counts against Barnes, including a charge of second-degree attempted murder.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III sentenced Barnes to the maximum sentence for a reckless endangerment charge.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Theresa Adams said she could not pursue other charges against Barnes because Walker could not be found to testify.

Barnes' attorney, John Corderman, told Wright that until the shooting Barnes had lived quietly in Hagerstown for about eight years, most recently working as a promoter.

At about 1 a.m. on July 28, 2002, three Hagerstown City Police bicycle officers were on patrol when they saw about 50 people gathered at the corner of North Avenue and Jonathan Street, Adams said in court Thursday.

As the crowd was breaking up nearly 30 minutes later, the officers saw a man raise his arm and fire as many as 10 shots. Police saw muzzle flashes and sparks that looked like bullets ricocheting off the sidewalk. Investigators later found several bullet casings on the street, Adams said.

Walker was hit once in the leg and once in the back. Officers chased the shooter, who later was identified as Barnes, and saw him try to discard a 9 mm pistol. Police tackled Barnes and arrested him, Adams said.

About 10 minutes later, police found Walker several blocks away in a house on Wayside Avenue. He was airlifted to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Before sentencing, Barnes said that up until the shooting he had "stayed out of trouble" and said he would like to return to being productive.

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