Jacksonville man Terry Barnes pleaded guilty and sentenced to 14-17 years for the 2016 second-degree murder of his live-in girlfriend Tina Meyer
On May 21, 2019, Terry Gordon Barnes, age 53 years, pled guilty to second degree murder. The defendant was sentenced by Judge Charles H. Henry of Onslow County to a minimum of 168 months and a maximum of 214 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction. The State of North Carolina was represented by Assistant District Attorneys Kelly B. Neal and Precious Harrison-Cobb. The defendant was represented by Attorney Paul Castle of Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The evidence shows that on September 19, 2016, Onslow County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to Old Maplehurst Road in reference to a shooting. Deputy Mark Hipple responded to the residence and found Tina Marie Meyer unresponsive on the living room floor with an apparent gunshot wound to left chest area. Deputy Hipple located the defendant, Tina Meyer’s boyfriend of many years, outside the residence in a Ford Explorer and found Addison Riley, Tina Meyer’s step-fahter, inside the residence. The defendant initially told Deputy Hipple that Mr. Riley had shot Tina Mayer and Mr. Riley indicated that the defendant had been the shooter. An investigation by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office would ultimately prove the defendant had shot and killed Tina Meyer.
During closing arguments of the April 2019 trial, ADA Kelly Neal argued the facts of forensics only made sense and that Terry Barnes did in fact kill Tina Meyer. Additionally that a verbal confrontation had transpired between the two of them before the rifle was retrieved. ADA Kelly Stated in his arguments it was impossible for an 81-year-old man who uses a walker to stand and walk to have shot Tina Meyer.
Defense Attorney Paul Castle argued that it did not make sense and that the man responsible for the death of Tina Meyer was her step-father, Mr. Riley. Castle presented demonstration of what he believed to exemplify the scene of the crime that night in his clients defense.
Detectives learned that these three individuals had been out drinking that night and upon returning from the Globe and Anchor Bar, the defendant went into Mr. Riley’s bedroom and grabbed a .410 shotgun and returned to the living room. He pointed the weapon at Tina Meyer and shot her in front of Addison Riley. At the time of the shooting Mr. Riley was seated on a couch in the living room and Tina Meyer was standing in front of him. The defendant put the weapon back in Mr. Riley’s bedroom and left the residence to sit in his vehicle. An autopsy performed by Dr. John Almeida revealed that Tina Meyer had been shot in the left chest area with an entrance wound under her left armpit. He concluded the wound was a fatal wound and that the shot occurred at a distance of three to five feet away from the victim.
The defendant was interviewed by Sheriff’s Office detectives and initially blamed Mr. Riley for the incident. During the interview he eventually admitted to shooting Tina Meyer. The defendant indicated the three of them had been out drinking and when they returned Tina Meyer was fussing at him. He went into the bedroom and grabbed Mr. Riley’s shotgun and came back into the living room. He pointed the gun at Tina Meyer to prove a point to her, thinking the gun was unloaded. He cocked the weapon, pointed it at Tina Meyer and pulled the trigger, shooting her. He demonstrated to detectives how he held the gun when he stood in front of the victim and shot her. He told detectives he had been drinking and that alcohol played a part in what occurred.
The case was tried as a first degree murder from April 1, 2019 until April 12, 2019 in Onslow County Superior Court. The trial ended in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
DA Ernie Lee stated in a press release, “I commend the work done in this case by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office. The work done by the detectives and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit that night brought Tina Marie Meyer’s killer to justice. This case was a senseless tragedy where someone lost their life due to a combination of alcohol and the use of a firearm. Due to the hard work of the Sheriff’s Office, this defendant will serve a minimum of 168 months behind bars.”