JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A videotaped reenactment and the testimony of six witnesses were presented to the jury Tuesday in the trial of a St. Johns County man charged with murdering his wife for insurance money.
The prosecution presented the video reenactment, which features the defendant Justin Barber and his version of what took place the night he and his wife, April, were shot while on the beach in Guana River State Park in 2002. In it he explained how the alleged gunman pointed a weapon at him, saying that he only heard one shot before struggling and passing out.
He said that when he came to he found his wife's body near the water and tried to carry her to the boardwalk.
In addition to the video reenactment, the prosecution put six witnesses on the stand. The first was the woman Barber was having an affair with before his wife's death.
Shannon Kennedy admitted to the brief relationship with Barber, saying the last time she and Barber talked was after his wife's death when Barber visited Kennedy at her job.
Kennedy told the jury that when Barber last came to see her he looked bad and was crying.
"He said he tried to save her," Kennedy said.
The circumstances surrounding April Barber's death took the majority of the morning, as the defense cross-examined lead investigator Detective Howard Cole.
Channel 4's Dan Leveton was in the courtroom during Tuesday's testimony and reported that at times the exchanges between Cole and defense attorney Bob Willis were testy, especially when the possibility of another car at the crime scene came up.
"I think they placed two cars. Did they not?" Cole said. "I believe they did."
"You better check your understanding. We'll take all the time you need," Willis said.
The two also debated why Barber drove more than nine miles looking for help after his wife was slain.
Cole said he simply did not believe Barber's story.
"I just don't see how anybody could accept the fact that he left his wife on the beach and was looking for help, and would drive that far away to get it," Cole said. "It's inconceivable."
Two other witnesses, who examined the financial aspect of the case, also testified Tuesday. The insurance agents said that Barber had taken out a $2 million life insurance police on his wife and himself.
A CPA testified that Barber had accumulated $50,000 in credit card debt the year before his wife was killed. The prosecution says Barber killed his wife because he needed the money from his wife's insurance policy.
- June 12, 2006: Opening Statments, Testimony Begin In Husband's Murder Case
- June 12, 2006: Man On Trial For Killing Wife On St. Johns Beach
- June 8, 2006: Jury Selection Complete; Husband's Murder Trial To Begin
- June 6, 2006: St. Johns Man Charged With Wife's Murder Prepares For Trial
- July 12, 2004: Husband Arrested In Deadly Guana River Shooting
- April 9, 2004: Police Find Possible Clues in 2002 Murder
- August 19, 2002: Police Have Few Clues In Double Shooting At Beach
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