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Man sentenced to 17 years for Washington County carjacking, robbery

Victim says she's still traumatized

Victim says she's still traumatized

November 29, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Six months after a man with a gun carjacked her, Diana Bernard said in court Wednesday that she remains traumatized by the harrowing crime.

"I feel like I'm in a prison ... ," she said. "It's not going away."

Minutes later, the gunman - Jamie Parker Barnes, 41, of Waynesboro, Pa. - was sentenced to serve 17 years in prison.

Barnes pleaded guilty in September to robbing Williamsport Pharmacy at gunpoint, then carjacking Bernard, who stopped to help when he crashed his vehicle after the robbery.

Two of Barnes' friends testified during Wednesday's sentencing that he was a decent person dragged down by drug addiction.

Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler said in court at the time that Barnes went to the pharmacy May 2, showed a handgun, said his mother was dying of cancer and took more than $3,400 worth of OxyContin and other prescription medication.

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Pauler said Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court that Bernard did a nice thing by stopping to help when she saw a man who had crashed.

Barnes got into Bernard's vehicle and forced her to drive away, then made her get out of the vehicle, authorities have said.

After a two-week search, Barnes was apprehended in Virginia.

Beachley sentenced Barnes to 15 years for armed robbery and 20 years for carjacking, but suspended 18 years on the two sentences. The remaining 17 years are to be served consecutively.

Since the crimes were considered violent, Barnes must serve at least 50 percent of the sentence to be eligible for parole, Beachley said.

After he gets out of prison, Barnes will be on probation for four years. He must get drug treatment, abstain from drugs and alcohol, and get tested.

He was ordered to pay $5,724.33 in restitution in the carjacking incident.

Barnes, represented by attorney Jim Reed, tried to apologize directly to Bernard in court. He read from a short letter he said he wrote shortly after he was arrested, asking for forgiveness.

He said he was bothered by Bernard's comment in a presentence report that she was afraid of retaliation.

"That's not me," he said.

Her words barely recognizable as she sobbed, Bernard replied, "It doesn't matter. You hurt me," then leaned into her husband Albert's arms.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley asked Barnes to stop addressing Bernard and to talk to the court instead.

Barnes went on to describe how he and his wife went from living well and working to being homeless and jobless in less than a year.

"We had become opiate dependents," he said.

Beachley said the community has thousands of addicts, but "most do not commit violent crimes."

Because Barnes "terrorized" the community, a prison sentence is appropriate, Beachley said.

Bernard said in an interview after the sentencing that she and her family still are badly shaken and it was difficult for her to speak in court.

"Every time I have to live it, I spiral downward," she said.

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