Man charged with 2nd-degree murder in fatal Hagerstown shooting nabbed in Prince George's County

Juan Barnes awaits bond hearing in connection with Jan. 24 shooting of New York City man

February 01, 2012|By DON AINES |
  • Juan Sylvester Barnes
Submitted by Hagerstown Police Department

HAGERSTOWN — A man charged with the fatal shooting of a New York City man last week on Jonathan Street was apprehended Tuesday night in Prince George’s County, Hagerstown police said.

Juan Sylvester Barnes, 28, of no fixed address was being held without bail Wednesday on a charge of second-degree murder in the Jan. 24 shooting of Christopher Lee Follett, 29.

Follett was found shot in the head on the 300 block of Jonathan Street shortly after 1 a.m. on Jan. 24. He died at Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown two days later.

Barnes was taken into custody in an apartment on Springhill Drive in Greenbelt, Md., at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, city police said. His apprehension was the result of a joint operation by Hagerstown police and Maryland State Police.

Custody of Barnes was transferred from state police to city police detectives, who served him with an arrest warrant, police said.


After Barnes’ bond review hearing Wednesday before District Judge Mark Thomas, Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Kessell said Barnes was found hiding in a relative’s apartment. A handgun of the same caliber as the weapon believed to have been used to shoot Follett also was found there, he said.

Hagerstown police initially charged Barnes in warrants with attempted murder and other offenses. On Tuesday, the charges were amended to include second-degree murder.

The other charges against Barnes include first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, use of a firearm in a crime of violence, carrying a handgun and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to court records.

Follett was shot through the forehead, and the bullet exited behind his right ear, according to the application for statement of charges filed by city police. Police found a .45-caliber shell casing in the area.

A witness was found who told police she was with Barnes when the shooting occurred. They were walking south on North Jonathan Street when they encountered a group that included Follett, the charging documents said.

Follett began talking to the witness, and “a perceived slight between the suspect” and a person in the group resulted in an exchange of words, the documents said.

The witness alleged to police that Barnes pulled a semiautomatic handgun from beneath his jacket, fired one shot, and Follett fell backward, the documents said.

The witness identified Barnes from a photographic array on Jan. 25, the  documents said.

City police took Barnes to the Washington County Detention Center at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, a detention center officer said.

The shooting of Follett was one of two that occurred in Hagerstown within a 10-hour period last week.

On the afternoon of Jan. 23, a man on Cannon Avenue was shot several times, police said. That man remained at Meritus Medical Center, but his condition was improving, and he has been able to speak with investigators, police said Tuesday.

Police are still searching for the assailant in that shooting.

Barnes has a criminal record that includes a 2005 robbery conviction, Kessell told Thomas. Barnes was also wanted for a parole violation, he said.

Thomas scheduled a Feb. 28 preliminary hearing for Barnes.

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