Same gun linked to two separate Richmond homicides

Same gun linked to two separate Richmond homicides

MARTINEZ — Authorities established a link between two seemingly unrelated 2016 Richmond homicides, one of which occurred two months after a suspect in the first killing was arrested, according to court records.

According to a defense motion for discovery, a ballistics test suggested that the same gun used in the April 2016 shooting death of 26-year-old Reginald Atkinson was also used three months later to shoot and kill Paul King, 32. The suspect in Atkinson’s death, Richmond resident Edbert James III, was arrested in Nevada one month later.

Last November, James was convicted of murdering Atkinson. It was a daytime shooting captured on camera. The man arrested and charged with murdering King, 41-year-old Kendrick Barfield, is scheduled to go on trial in late June.

Barfield’s discovery motion, granted last January, says the gun was never recovered. It also suggests the gun was linked to a third, unspecified shooting. Prosecutors declined to comment on whether authorities have a theory of how the gun got from one homicide suspect to another.

Barfield was linked to King’s shooting death by eyewitness testimony, including from one woman who said she was with King on the 200 block of Gertrude Avenue in Richmond when Barfield pulled up in King’s car. The two men argued, and Barfield allegedly shot King several times, according to the prosecution’s theory.

“He kept saying, ‘I’m not going to make it,’” the woman testified. “I kept saying, ‘Baby, yes you is. You just gotta hold on.’”

King responded, according to the woman, by saying to tell his mom he loved her. He was pronounced dead later that night.

But Barfield’s defense attorney at the hearing suggested “the streets decided to blame (Barfield),” and that he’d become a scapegoat. During Barfield’s preliminary hearing, it was established that some eyewitnesses who originally identified Barfield as the shooter later changed their story.

When she ordered Barfield to stand trial in May 2017, Superior Court Judge Laurel Brady acknowledged the case probably had “some issues going forward,” but said prosecutors had met their standard of proof for the case to advance past the preliminary hearing.

“I think the reality, unfortunately, here in Richmond is that talking to the police is something that people are reluctant to do, and often information comes in bits and pieces over time,” Brady said at the hearing.

Source: Same gun linked to two separate Richmond homicides

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