One of the Stafford teens involved in incidents last year that resulted in the fatal shooting of a county man and critical injuries to his girlfriend was convicted of charges Monday that will net him a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Rustam Fardin, who turned 18 last month, pleaded guilty in Stafford Circuit Court to involuntary manslaughter, two counts of robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Fardin had been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the July 3 slaying of 20-year-old Troy Barnett, who was shot twice in the head after coming out of the 5 Twelve store on Garrisonville Road late that night.
Barnett’s girlfriend, Laura G. Gomez–De La Cruz, was also shot in the head after she rushed to check on her fallen boyfriend. Gomez–De La Cruz spent months in hospitals, but survived the attack.
The shooter, Caine “C.J.” Davis of Stafford, was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges last month. Davis, who also turned 18 last month, is facing the possibility of more than two life sentences when he is sentenced July 9.
Fardin’s plea Monday came on the day when his seven-day jury trial had been scheduled to start. Instead, prosecutors Ryan Frank and Jay Chichester and defense attorneys Peter Greenspun and Muhammad Elsayed came up with a deal that did away with murder and other charges against Fardin.
The deal also limits Fardin’s prison sentence to no more than 20 years. He will be sentenced Aug. 12.
One of Fardin’s robbery convictions stems from a June 29 incident in which he and Davis robbed Barnett and another man at gunpoint during a scheduled drug transaction in Hampton Oaks in North Stafford.
Barnett responded by posting unflattering things about his assailants on social media, according to the evidence. The teens, who were all juveniles at the time, then lured Barnett to the fatal confrontation by getting a teenage girl to contact him about a supposed drug deal.
The girl, who was in Maryland at the time, never showed up, and Barnett left the planned meeting place at a McDonald’s and went into the nearby 5 Twelve store. Davis, who was riding with Fardin and Christopher Walters, came up behind Barnett as he left the store and killed him.
Walters, 16, who testified against Davis and Fardin in earlier hearings, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact of murder. He, too, will be sentenced July 9. The three teens were all students at North Stafford High School at the time and were all tried as adults.
Greenspun insisted Monday that there was never any talk among the three defendants about killing Barnett. He said Davis made that decision completely on his own.
Greenspun also claimed that Fardin did not have a gun during the first robbery involving Barnett a few days before his death.