When police informed Christopher Barnes that none of the 11 bullets he fired into a Wetzel Street home on July 1 had struck the man who was inside with Barnes' wife, he asked if he could try again.
Barnes, 35, of Wheeling pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted murder and wanton endangerment charges stemming from that incident. Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone sentenced him to eight to 20 years in prison.
Police say Barnes was intoxicated when he arrived at the home on the night of June 30. He was harassing his wife, who refused to let him enter the residence. She told responding officers Barnes flashed a gun and threatened, "If I go to jail, I'm going to take your life." Barnes had left the scene by the time police arrived.
Photo by Tyler Reynard
Christopher Barnes reviews documents with Assistant Public Defender Samuel Stillwell prior to a hearing in Ohio County Circuit Court on Thursday.
Barnes returned to the home later in the early morning hours of July 1, when a man was inside with his wife. Barnes then reportedly pushed in an air conditioning window unit and fired shots through the window into the residence.
"Once the air conditioner came in, Mr. Barnes didn't come in the house, but rather, bullets started coming in the house," Ohio County Assistant Prosecutor Gail Kahle said.
Multiple police units swarmed the home and Barnes was taken into custody at the scene. Kahle said Barnes made numerous incriminating statements to officers.
In-cruiser video surveillance shows Barnes, while handcuffed in the back seat, asking officers, "Did I get him?" When they told him no one was shot, Barnes asked, "Can I try again?"
Kahle said although Barnes has an extensive history of violence against his wife, she was "vehemently opposed to her husband being incarcerated for any crimes against her."
"In other words," Kahle continued, "she's not in favor of this; she'd rather have him back home."
Although he entered a Kennedy plea, in which he refused to admit his guilt but acknowledged the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him, Barnes apologized for what happened that evening.
"I'd just like to take this opportunity to apologize to my family and my neighbors for the dangerous, irresponsible actions I took that night," he said. "I'm just grateful no one was injured."