Prosecutors on Monday began outlining a series of events last summer that resulted in the “cold-blooded ambush” and slaying of 20-year-old Troy Barnett and the near-fatal shooting of his girlfriend in North Stafford.
Caine C. Davis, 17, is on trial this week in Stafford County Circuit Court on charges that include first-degree murder and aggravated malicious wounding. He is accused of shooting Barnett and Laura G. Gomez–De La Cruz in the head outside the 5 Twelve store on Garrisonville Road late July 3.
Two other Stafford teens, Rustam Fardin, 17, and Christopher Walters, 16, have also been charged in connection with the shootings. Fardin still has murder and other charges pending, while Walters pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact.
Walters has already testified against the other teens and is expected to do so again on Tuesday.
According to evidence presented Monday by prosecutors Ryan Frank and Jay Chichester, Barnett was robbed by Davis and Fardin at gunpoint a few days before his death.
Deonte McDowney testified that he sometimes drove Barnett to locations where he would sell drugs, and on this occasion he drove to meet Davis and Fardin for a planned marijuana sale.
McDowney said that instead of money, the teens pulled out guns and placed them against the heads of he and Barnett. They then robbed Barnett and left.
The police were not called, but Barnett later expressed his disdain for the defendants on social media. That apparently didn’t sit well with them, and a plan was hatched to kill Barnett, according to the evidence.
A teenage girl was recruited to unwittingly assist in the plot. The girl testified that she was asked by Fardin to contact Barnett to arrange the purchase of Xanax because Barnett would no longer sell to males.
The girl testified that she did not know that murder was part of the plan.
The girl was in Maryland visiting her father and never showed up to the arranged purchase at a McDonald’s on State Route 610 (Garrisonville Road). Barnett eventually went to the nearby 5 Twelve store with Gomez–De La Cruz and was gunned down upon leaving the store.
Investigators eventually tracked down the girl about six weeks after the slaying and got her to make a couple of calls to Davis while they listened in. Davis was heard on the recordings telling the girl to keep her mouth shut and saying, “I did what I had to do.”
The girl testified that Davis also threatened her and her boyfriend, saying, “You know we don’t play and we will kill you.”
Also expected to testify this week is Gomez–De La Cruz, who Frank said was shot after she ran to her fallen boyfriend. Frank called it “miraculous” that Gomez–De La Cruz lived and will be able to testify.
The prosecutors will also put on extensive cellphone evidence and surveillance footage that they hope will bolster their case.
Defense attorney Jim Ilijevich attacked the credibility of some prosecution witnesses in his opening statement. He especially singled out Walters, who he said initially denied any knowledge of the incident and has told varying stories since then.