Arkansas man sentenced to life in prison for 2 murders
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted of capital murder in the 2016 shooting deaths of two men.
Tyler Barefield, 36, was sentenced Thursday, a day after he was convicted in the deaths of Aaron Brock and Beau DeWitt, both. Both men were fatally shot, and their bodies were found crushed inside a vehicle at a salvage yard owned by Barefield’s family in Russellville.
Surveillance footage showed Barefield at the scrapyard carrying a rifle and other gear the night of the shooting, but no DNA evidence connecting Barefield to the deaths was presented in court.
Barefield told an investigator he crushed the car in which the two men were found, but that he didn’t know they were inside.
Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons described Barefield as a “hunter,” who was fed up with thefts.
“He was absolutely on the hunt, Gibbons said. “And like any hunter, he had knowledge of his prey, to stalk them and eliminate his problem.”
Defense attorney Patrick Benca argued that Barefield was at the salvage yard to see if a thunderstorm had ruined newly placed gravel. He said Barefield would scout for thieves, but without the intention to harm anyone.
“He is not hunting people,” Benca said. “He did not know he crushed people in those cars.”
Pope County Circuit Judge William Pearson said the prosecution and defense came to an agreement on an enhanced sentence that will run concurrently. Prosecutors opted to not pursue the death penalty.
Benca said Barefield plans to appeal.